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Sixth Schedule bills lapsed: Centre

Darjeeling, Dec. 12: The Union home ministry has stated that the draft bills for including the Darjeeling hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have “lapsed with the dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha” and the bills “cannot be implemented”.

The statement, in reply to an RTI query, has prompted the GNLF to explore the possibility of going to court. Inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would have allowed the Darjeeling hills autonomy in several matters under the Constitution.

Arjun Rai, the GNLF convener of Mirik, today said: “There is no question of the bills being lapsed…. If indeed there is such a reply the party will go to the Supreme Court on the issue.”

Ashutosh Jain, director, Centre-state relations-II, while replying to the RTI query filed by a resident of Darjeeling, who does not wish to be named, said the bills had lapsed.

“Two draft bills for grant of 6th Schedule were introduced in the Lok Sabha on 30-11-2007,” the reply said.

“After introduction of the (bill in) Lok Sabha, it opposed against the proposal to grant Sixth Schedule status. The proposal was referred to department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee for their advice. The Bills lapsed with the dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha and as such, the bill cannot be implemented (sic),” the reply dated November 29, 2013, said.

The 14th Lok Sabha was dissolved in 2009. All bills for which no decision has been arrived at stand lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The only exception is when the minister concerned asks the Speaker to keep it pending for the next Lok Sabha.