Special Correspondent

Government to consider changes once the Bill is returned

Governor sends message on concerns over Bill

Sees it as a setback to system of panchayati raj

Bangalore: Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs M.P. Prakash on Friday informed the Legislative Assembly that Governor T.N. Chaturvedi had not yet returned the file on the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2007 to the Government but had only sent a 10-page message expressing his concerns about the Bill.

In his message, the Governor said the amendment was inconsistent with the 73rd and 74th Constitution amendments and a setback to the panchayati raj system. Both Houses of the legislature passed the Bill in the last session. Several members of the Legislative Council met the Governor on Wednesday and urged him to not to give his assent to the Bill.

‘No obligation’

When Leader of the Opposition Dharam Singh sought a debate on the Governor’s message, Mr. Prakash said Mr. Chaturvedi sent the message to the Government under Article 200 of the Constitution. It was not obligatory on the part of the Government to discuss the message immediately by setting aside the day’s agenda. It would have been obligatory for the Government to discuss the message if it had been sent under Articles 175 and 175, he said.

The Government would consider changes to the Bill after the Governor returned it. “There is at least six months’ time before the Government” to consider the Governor’s suggestions. Changes to the Bill, if required, would be made only after it was discussed by the Cabinet. The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department should consider the message sent by the Governor, Mr. Prakash said.

‘Not the first time’

The Governor had sent messages on a few occasions in the past. The Governor had returned the office of profit Bill passed by the legislature. The Governor had given his assent to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Bill to regularise unauthorised constructions after a gap of nearly two years, he said.

Mr. Prakash said members spoke volumes on decentralisation but they were not prepared to devolve powers to local bodies.

Earlier, Mr. Dharam Singh requested Speaker Krishna to set aside other proceedings in order to discuss the Governor’s message. He said members of local bodies held protests in various districts on Thursday. The Government should respond to the concerns of the members of the panchayats, he said.

J.C. Madhuswamy (JD-U), G.V. Sriram Reddy (CPI-M) and Vatal Nagaraj (Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha) appealed to Mr. Krishna to take up the matter later. The Speaker reserved his ruling.