Guwahati, Aug. 4: Lawyers in the state will generate public opinion against the Centre’s proposed move to amend the Constitution to implement the controversial land swap deal signed with Bangladesh in Dhaka on September 6, 2011.
Sailendra Das, the general secretary of the All Assam Lawyers’ Association, told reporters here today that as the agreement involved ceding land to a foreign nation, a bill for constitutional amendment would have to be passed by both the Houses of Parliament under Article 368 by not less than two-thirds of the members present in the House. Article 368 confers on Parliament the power to amend the Constitution.
“Under no circumstance can the people of Assam accept handing over its land to Bangladesh for the sake of an agreement. The issue had raised huge protests last year. The UPA government’s move to bring a constitutional amendment bill has to be opposed tooth and nail. The bill is expected to be tabled in the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament, starting August 8,” Das said, adding that political parties and MPs, especially those who are vocal against the Indo-Bangladesh land swap deal, must oppose the bill and prevent it from getting passed in Parliament.
He said the association would generate public opinion against the proposed bill through various ways.
Last year’s agreement was signed between New Delhi and Dhaka in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Das said when India and Pakistan had signed a similar agreement on September 10, 1958, related to ceding of Berubari in West Bengal to Pakistan, the then President Rajendra Prasad had referred the matter to Supreme Court. After the apex court opined that a law related to Article 368 was necessary, the then government of India under Jawaharlal Nehru passed the Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Act, 1960 to implement the India-Pakistan agreement of 1958. He said the Manmohan Singh government would pass a similar constitutional amendment but MPs should leave no stone unturned to prevent it.