Members try to snatch papers from Khurshid as he tables Boundary Bill

Amid unruly scenes and frequent adjournments in the Upper House, the government on Wednesday introduced the Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill 2013 to give effect to the agreement between India and Bangladesh for demarcation of the land boundary and exchange of territories between the two countries.

Opposing the Bill, as well as the last-minute introduction before the House was adjourned sine die, members of the Asom Gana Parishad and the Trinamool Congress tried to snatch the papers from External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as he tabled the Bill. Protesting vociferously, AGP member Birendra Prasad Baishya and Derek O’ Brien (TMC) were heard saying “you cannot do this.” The Chair then adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When the House reassembled, the ruckus continued leading to a second adjournment. However, when the House met again, the Minister introduced the Bill amid the din after the Chair took voice vote.

The Bill, which was not on the business or even the revised business list, was brought in as a supplementary list of business at the fag end of the day.

The BJP later said it was opposed to the admissibility of the Bill and the Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley had written to the Rajya Sabha Chairman and the Secretary-General that “Parliament has no jurisdiction to alter the territory of India. The territory represents sovereignty and are both a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and thus, cannot be reduced or altered by an amendment to the Constitution.”

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