The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Yechury springs legal point


New Delhi, Nov. 27: The CPM today claimed the government was legally bound to have its decision on allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail ratified by Parliament and urged the Centre to agree on a discussion under a rule that entails voting.

Party MP Sitaram Yechury said according to Section 48 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, amendments to permit FDI in the sector have to be endorsed by Parliament within a time frame.

“The convention is that the amendments should be placed before the 15th sitting of the first session after the amendments are made and it has to be disposed of within 30 sittings. When it comes before both the Houses (of Parliament), members can move amendments and ask for voting, and it has to be carried out,” he said.

Given the provisions on the time frame, however, the government can well take up the issue in the next session — the budget session — as the winter session will be over before the 30th sitting.

The time frame of 15 sittings to table the amendments expires on December 13, seven days before the winter session ends.

Yechury, however, brought up the legal provisions to tell the government that its effort to prevent a vote would prove futile. “The government should thereby agree for a discussion under Rule 184 and allow Parliament to function. We will raise this issue in the House,” he said.

He alleged that the government was busy mustering numbers but acknowledged that, after the stand taken by the DMK and Trinamul, the Centre appeared to have managed the numbers.

At an all-party meeting yesterday, Trinamul said the Speaker should decide the rule under which a discussion should take place. Ally DMK today agreed to vote with the government.

Yechury said the Supreme Court had recently observed that the amendments could not come into effect unless the relevant sections of Fema were amended by Parliament. “The government should thereby not try to block the issue and allow Parliament to give its verdict over the issue,” he said.