Shambhu Nath Choudhary
RANCHI –The Jharkhand government had passed a bill in the Assembly on December 21, 2021 with the objectives of curbing incidents of mob lynching and ensuring strict punishment to the accused in such incidents.
The bill provided that violence by 2 or more persons will be considered mob lynching and would be punishable with life imprisonment as well as a fine of up to Rs 25 lakh.
The bill is yet to become a law, even after 15 months of its passing as then Governor Ramesh Bais refused to approve the bill, saying that it did not define mob lynching properly.
Apart from this, he also objected to the difference between the Hindi and English version of the Bill.
When the bill was being passed, state Minister of Rural Development Alamgir Alam had said that people from weaker sections have been victims of violence in such incidents and the law was being made to give protection to the victims, along with strict punishment to elements to carried out such acts.
The BJP MLAs in the Assembly boycotted the House saying that the government’s appeasement policy was behind it.
However, the bill was passed despite the BJP’s protest.
Significantly, half a dozen bills passed by the state government in the last year and a half could not take the form of law due to Raj Bhavan’s objections. Four bills got Bais’ approval only when they were passed again by the Assembly.
Bais was the Governor of Jharkhand for about a year and eight months and he returned 10 bills in the period.
On February 9, Bais returned the ‘Jharkhand Finance Bill-2022’ passed by the Jharkhand Assembly for the third time and wrote in his note that the points and details mentioned in the Bill should be seriously reviewed on whether they contained in the State List under Schedule VII of the Constitution of India.
Earlier, the Governor pointed out differences between the Hindi and English versions of the bill and returned it to the government, following which it was modified and sent to Bais for assent.
For the second time, the Governor returned the bill and noted that the revised bill should be re-passed by the Assembly and sent for approval.
The Hemant Soren government in the state is now planning to send the Bill for the fourth time.
On January 29, Bais returned the Domicile Bill passed by the state government by calling a special session of the Legislative Assembly, saying that it was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and the order of the Supreme Court.
The Soren government had passed the bill in a one-day special session on November 11 had called the bill a historic decision and a concrete step in favour of the local people of the state.
However, a few days later, the Jharkhand High Court also ordered to repeal this bill, calling it contrary to the constitution.
Apart from this, the Jharkhand government had also passed a bill to increase the percentage of OBC, SC and ST reservation in the state during the special session of the Assembly, which has been in the Raj Bhavan for five months and the Governor’s assent or disapproval has not yet been received.
A 40-member multi-party delegation led by Soren met Bais on December 20 last year, seeking assent to the bill and with the demand to send it to the Centre. A month later, the governor returned the Domicile Bill to the government, but the decision on the second bill is still awaited.
Earlier in November, the Governor had returned the Jharkhand Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to the state government for reconsideration with several objections. Expressing the possibility of improvement on eight points in the bill, he had raised concerns on some provisions that seemed like an attempt to cover the illegal acts of high officials.
Similarly, in September 2022, the Settlement of Arrears of Jharkhand Taxation Acts Bill, 2022, related to resolution of disputes over taxation before GST’s implementation was returned due to differences in its Hindi and English versions.
Bais had asked the government to correct the differences and errors in the English-Hindi drafts and send it back to the Assembly for approval.
While returning the Jharkhand State Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2022 to the government in May, the governor objected to ten points of linguistic discrepancies.
In this bill, the state government had made a provision to levy an additional tax of 2 per cent on agricultural products brought for sale in mandis.
In April, the Raj Bhavan returned the Indian Stamp Duty Act Amendment Bill, 2021 to the government and stated in a letter that there is no similarity between the Hindi and English drafts of the Bill which is confusing.
Later, when it was passed again in the Assembly, the governor approved it.
Similarly, the Bill related to the establishment of Pandit Raghunath Murmu Tribal University and the Jharkhand State Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2022 also returned by the Governor with objections for the first time and were approved later when they were passed again. -IANS