Land Bill Reduced to 'Hamlet Without Prince of Denmark': Cong

New Delhi
Land Bill Reduced to 'Hamlet Without Prince of Denmark': Cong

Alleging the Centre of reducing the crucial Land Acquisition Bill to the status of a "Hamlet without the Prince", Congress today said that his party will oppose the ordinance on it in the upcoming Budget Session, as "ordinance cannot be the default mode of legislation".

"Emergent pressing exigencies are required for bringing an ordinance. It is not a norm. It is certainly not made to be a default mode of legislation for passing key laws. But this government has brought eight ordinances in seven months since it came to power.

"Ordinance bypasses Parliament. In bypassing Parliament, you also bypass democracy," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, ruing the land acquisition bill was not a normal one and law and was brought after years of discussion and persuasion and it was "unequivocally supported" by the BJP one year ago.

He alleged that by bringing the ordinance, the government by the stroke of a pen within one week after Parliament session was over, brought such changes in the land bill that "this is now virtually a Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark."

"It's only shell of the Land Acquisition that we brought replacing the old 1894 law. It has now become just like the old one and has no soul or substance," Singhvi said.

Coining an acronym of "FAIL", the Congress spokesperson alleged that Modi government stands for anti-farmer, anti accountability, intolerance and divisive politics and anti- land acquisition.

He also took potshots at the BJP for demanding that Congress President Sonia Gandhi should apologise from the nation after BJP chief Amit Shah's discharge in Sohrabuddin fake encounter killing case, rejecting allegation that it "misused" CBI against its opponents during the UPA rule.

Singhvi said that the order at the lowest rung of the judiciary is "just the beginning" in the mutli-layered judicial process and expressed confidence that the higher courts would overturn the order as "it is highly untenable".

Observing that it is a "self-patting exercise" to think that the order of the special CBI court in Mumbai is the end of the matter or a clean chit to Shah, he said,"there is much legal merit in the appellate recourse" and the "self- congratulatory pat on the back is a complete misconception".

The party, which had, yesterday alleged that a "chained, caged and totally immobilised" probe agency was under the BJP government's "pressure" in the Shah case, today maintained that it was "very intrigued by the clean chit".

At the same time, Singhvi, who is a senior lawyer said, that nobody was saying Shah was guilty or not, as the case was at the stage of deciding that whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed against him or not.

He also expressed surprise as to how could the CBI counsel present all the facts of the case including charge sheet and statements of witnesses to the court in just 15 minutes of submission.

On the land issue, he said that the government brought the ordinance even as the bill passed by the UPA had incorporated the suggestions of then Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

He also reminded that how the government had, within days after coming to power, had brought an ordinance to appoint retired IAS officer and former chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Nripendra Misra as the principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said that the land bill passed by the UPA had done away with the "fatal flaws" like coercive acquisition, diversion of land and poor compensation, which will come back after the ordinance.

When asked that the government has said that a number of Congress chief ministers wanted changes in the land bill as brought out in the ordinance, Singhvi said that there is a difference between "tweaking and tailoring legislation and bring amendments in the light of experience" and "create a new suit, new garment in the name of tweaking and tailoring".

He said there may be certain concerns but taking away "soul of the legislation" was not the answer and it was not sought by any Congress chief minister. "I am not going to react on generalisations. Let them name, who said what," Singhvi said.

Another party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar targetted the government on increase in excise duty saying it shows that the NDA dispensation has "no concern for the middle class, the aspiration class" and is only interested in catering to the rich and focussing on big industries as the measure will lead to a spiral in prices of motorcycles, television and other such consumer goods.

"Budget Session is due in February. What was the immediate hurry to increase the excise duty now. Why did not they take it to Parliament in the upcoming session," he said.

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