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Congress walkout over bill

Agartala, March 10: The Opposition Congress today staged a noisy walkout from the Assembly to protest against the passing of the Tripura Municipal (6th Amendment) Bill, 2014, allegedly in a “totally unconstitutional manner”.

When minister for urban development Manik Dey stood up to move the bill, the leader of the Opposition, Sudip Roy Barman, backed by party MLA Ratanlal Nath, protested the motion, asserting that the bill was being passed in a “totally unconstitutional manner”.

They said they supported upgrading the Agartala Municipal Council (AMC), which the bill seeks to formalise but protested the manner in which it was being done making a “mockery of the law and the Constitution”.

After Speaker Ramendra Debnath permitted the motion, the Opposition led by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sudip Roy Barman staged a walkout.

Later, speaking to reporters about the amendment bill, Roy Barman, backed by Nath and another MLA, Asish Saha, said the state government had passed an administrative order to upgrade the AMC to a city corporation with expanded areas.

But when the Opposition pointed out that this could not be done by an administrative order, the state government got an ordinance promulgated by governor Debananda Kunwar on January 31 with “retrospective effect” to have the illegal administrative order legitimised.

“We had raised this earlier in the budget session of the Assembly and the chief minister invited us to a meeting with the advocate-general and law secretary and accordingly, we attended the meeting on March 4 and pointed out that according to Article 243 of the Constitution, a municipal body could be upgraded to corporation but it could come into effect only after the natural expiry of its current term and such upgrade by only an administrative order is also barred by the Tripura Municipal Act, 1994,” said Nath.

Even the advocate-general and the law secretary had indirectly accepted their view, he added.

“But in spite of all this, the government went ahead and passed the bill today by voice vote; they are doing this because of their brute majority in the House,” said Nath.

Blaming the Left Front for passing the bill in “indecent haste and in a totally unconstitutional manner”, Roy Barman and Saha said the Left Front was doing this only to secure more funds from Centre. “A corporation is a bigger body with higher responsibilities and funds requirement; the Left Front government is only trying to secure more funds showing to Centre that they have upgraded AMC to a city corporation,” said Saha.

He said this was the “most brazen violation of the Constitution and rule of law”.


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