Open to Discuss CAA in Parliament, No Question of NRC in Bihar, Says Nitish Kumar in Assembly.

Source –

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said there should be discussion on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and if all parties agree, then Parliament too should hold consultations on the contentious legislation that has triggered widespread protests.

Kumar, speaking on the floor of the House, also assured members that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would not be implemented in the state and Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had made his stand clear on the issue.

NRC and the new citizenship law have created fissures in the JDU, an ally of the BJP, with party vice-president Prashant Kishor publicly asking Kumar to do a rethink on support to the legislation.

“I want to make it very clear that JD(U)’s stance on NRC and CAA is of opposition. Check parliamentary standing committee’s record, first dissent note is of JD(U). Under what circumstances JD(U) supported the bill in both houses only Nitish Kumar ji can tell,” Kishor had said.

The election strategist also urged non-BJP chief ministers to “save the soul of India” and take a stand against the contentious Act.

“The majority prevailed in Parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 Non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts,” he said.

The Bihar Chief Minister soon clarified that NRC would not be implemented in the state as he attempted to put to rest speculations raised by JD(U)’s support to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Cornered by journalists who sought to know his views on nationwide NRC as envisaged by Home Minister Amit Shah, Kumar quipped: “Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahin hoga” (NRC, what for? Will not at all be implemented).

The new citizenship law, which seeks to make religion the test for granting citizenship, has been dubbed as “discriminatory” by critics who feel it is against the Muslim community.

Bihar: Another triple talaq, this time for being ‘overweight’


Even as the Centre attempts to push the controversial Triple Talaq Bill through the Parliament, yet another case of a woman being divorced over a petty reason via triple talaq came to light on Wednesday.

In the latest incident reported from Lakhimpur Kheri in Bihar, a husband accused his wife of being overweight and instantly divorced her. The victim, Shaheen, has accused her husband of calling her overweight and then divorcing her. “He has been calling me overweight for around two years now. Recently, he said that he deserves someone better and so talked about divorcing me,” said the victim.

She also said that she suspected her husband of having an affair with a ‘slim girl’ citing it to be the reason behind her husband’s oral divorce.

Shaheen, however, claimed that she did not believe in divorce, adding that she was being ill-treated by her husband. “I don’t believe in divorce, but he has been troubling me for the last two years,” said the victim.

The victim also has a five-year-old daughter. “He doesn’t let us live in our house. He used to hit us and has now thrown us out of the house,” she added, also blaming her in-laws for the treatment meted out to her. “When I go to my in-laws with my daughter, they call us ‘divorced’ and tell us to go away,” said the victim.

Incidentally, Shaheen said that even the police did not assist her when she approached them. “When I went to the police station, they did nothing,” she said.

Nonetheless, she registered a complaint in the Superintendent of Police’s office. According to a statement given by the SP, “The victim has registered her complaint. As it is a matter between the husband and the wife, the police will go about it accordingly.”

Parliament nod for central rule in J&K, key reservation bill


The government’s approach to managing strife in the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be guided by former prime minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s approach of “Jamhooriyat (democracy), Insaniyat (humanity), and Kashmiriyat (the spirit of Kashmir)”, home minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday during a discussion on the state. At the end of the debate, the Upper House adopted a resolution to extend President’s Rule in J&K by six months, and passed a bill to ensure 3% reservations in jobs and education for people living near the International Border.

But the velvet glove of Vajpayee’s approach would also include an iron hand, Shah said in the Rajya Sabha, promising a tit-for-tat response to anyone trying to disrupt peace in the state. “They will be given a response in their language.”

In the course of the discussion, Shah added that assembly elections would be held in the state on the Election Commission’s advice and the government would not delay the polls “even by a day.”

During the debate, the leader of Opposition in the House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government’s zero-tolerance policy didn’t seem to be working as attacks against security forces had spiralled during the last five years. “If you have zero tolerance, how come there have been 16 attacks including Pathankot, Nagrota and Uri,” he asked.

“When it comes to assembly elections, the government is hesitant. You want to run the government without accountability,” Azad added.

During his speech, Shah went on to elaborate on each aspect of his government’s policy regarding the state.

He spoke of the end of Sufi traditions and Kashmiri pandits being driven away from the state. “Were Sufi saints not a part of Kashmiriyat? Were Kashmiri Pandits not a part of Kashmiriyat? If we talk about Kashmiriyat today, we have to think of them too. A time will come when the Pandits and the Sufi saints will offer prayers alongside at the Kheer Bhawani temple,” he said.

He said the concept of Jamhooriyat was not limited to electing MLAs. “For 70 years, 40,000 people who could have become sarpanchs were sitting at home.

We have taken Jamhooriyat to the villages,” he said. He asked the Congress why panchayat and municipal elections were not held before and why democracy in the state be restricted to “just three families”.

Speaking about Insaniyat, he said that under President’s Rule, schools were restarted, bureaucrats ordered to go to villages to take schemes forward, and residents were provided with electricity, toilets and food.

“We want development in the Valley. The Valley is ours and we want people to prosper like the rest of India. But we will not tolerate any separatist movement and terrorism. Terrorists who do not want to join with India have no place in the government’s scheme of things. They will face severe action and difficulties,” he said. Unlike in the past, foreign and defence policies have been segregated keeping national security at the core, he said, while talking of the 2016 surgical strikes and the Balakot strikes. “We want peace with the world but there cannot be peace with those who do not respect our borders,” he said.

Responding to a question from some members on the government’s continued criticism of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s handling of the Kashmir situation, Shah asked why Nehru agreed to ceasefire when a third of Kashmir was with Pakistan, why India went to the United Nations after the instrument of accession was signed, and why a plebiscite was required. “Was it not a mistake? Will we not learn from our mistakes?” If the Kashmir problem has not been solved from 1947 to 2019, surely it is time to go for a new approach, he added.

Azad accused the government of using President’s Rule as a ploy to run the state from New Delhi. “Stop running the government from Delhi. That will be the biggest confidence-building measure,” he said.

Shah dismissed the allegations in his detailed, one-hour long reply to the five-hour discussion on two bills. “We have no drought of governments. We are there in 16 states. We have no desire to rule through the President’s Rule,” the minister said.

Responding to the criticism that if elections could be held for panchayats and Lok Sabha, why couldn’t they be held for the assembly, Shah said security forces had their reservations about being able to provide security to more than 1,000 contestants and had conveyed it to the Election Commission.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will allow people living near the International Border to benefit from a 3% reservation that was so far available only to those living along the Line of Control and Line of Actual Control. Shah said this would benefit more than 350,000 people living in 435 villages scattered across the districts of Jammu, Kathua and Sambha.

Former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities and former divisional commissioner of Kashmir Wajahat Habibullah said there was no choice but to extend President’s Rule at this point. He said the people living close to the International Border faced the same vulnerabilities that those near LoC faced and the reservation bill was a good move.

Modi stuns Congress in Parliament, does what they least expected him to do


Expect the unexpected when the man in question is Narendra Modi. Known to spring up surprises more often than not, there was anticipation ahead of Prime Minister’s maiden address in Parliament after returning to power with a stronger mandate. A day earlier, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had drawn a “gandi naali” analogy to target PM Modi. Contrary to expectations that Modi would shred the Congress leader in his speech over the lowly attack, the PM chose otherwise.

Of course, that did not deter him from launching an all-out attack against the Opposition, particularly the Congress, over a number of other issues. In his over 65-minute-long address, PM Modi did not spare the Congress for ignoring the contribution of former PMs like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. He took repeated digs at the Gandhi-Nehru family for its sense of entitlement and absolute disconnect with roots and also took a shot at Rahul Gandhi’s foreign jaunt immediately after the elections were over. “Even we wanted to relax after running around during elections for so long. But we do not think that way.”

The PM also reminded the Congress of the Emergency over how it crushed India’s soul on the day 44 years ago. Responding to a question by Chowdhury a day earlier on why Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were not in jail, when, as per the PM’s own claims, they are neck-deep in corruption, the PM said: “There is no Emergency in the country. Enjoy if you are out on bail.” The Prime Minister also pointed out how the Congress leadership had lost its connection with the masses, and in its lust for power even refused to acknowledge or appreciate the contribution of its own leaders outside the Gandhi family.

Yet, when Congress leaders emerged from the Parliament after the session, they claimed a moral victory. For, at the end of his address, the PM did what the Congress would never have expected him to do. Concluding his speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Modi quoted India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Congress has scored a “great victory” as it had compelled Modi to quote Pandit Nehru’s words in his speech.

“I think we have scored a great success that at least the Prime Minister, who used to previously remain reluctant to recognise any Congress leader, was compelled to quote Nehru at the fag end of his speech. So, I think this was our great victory,” IANS quoted him as saying.

On Tuesday, Modi quoted an extract from a speech made by Nehru in 1951 at the release of the Congress manifesto for the first Lok Sabha polls in the country. “The biggest lesson to the world from India is that here, duties come first. From these duties emerge the rights. In today’s world, everyone talks about their rights and conveniences. Hardly anyone talks about duties. This is the reason for the friction in the world. It is true that we fight for our rights, but if we forget our duties, these rights will also not remain with us,” the Prime Minister told the Lok Sabha, taking his time to reveal that the “mahapurush” whom he had quoted was none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, urging members to understand his wish and see if it can be taken forward.

Congress has good reason to be surprised though one may doubt its contributions in “compelling” the Prime Minister to quote Nehru. The Prime Minister and the BJP are seen to be promoting the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi towards nation-building more than Nehru. The government’s push to honour all Prime Ministers at the Nehru Memorial has been a bone of contention between the BJP and the Congress. The grand old party has also often accused Modi of being opposed to the idea of pluralism and inclusivity that Nehru stood for, besides blaming the former of destroying institutions that Nehru built. Of course, praise for Nehru from arguably his biggest critic, is bound to delight them.

While the Congress is playing it smart by claiming victory for Modi’s choice of words, the Prime Minister has displayed that he is staying true to his promise of taking the Opposition along. There are some bills that still need the Opposition’s support to pass muster in the Rajya Sabha and the PM’s praise of Nehru could be an olive branch to the Congress. Also, by praising Nehru, the Congress’ tallest leader, could also puncture the Opposition’s charge of disrespecting their icons. In either case, it is Modi who has emerged as the smarter politician yet again.

India’s Politicians Have Turned the Anti-Defection Law on Its Head


The political class made a commitment when parliament passed the tenth schedule of the constitution, popularly known as the anti-defection law, to maintain the integrity and stability of the party system. Their whole-hearted support to the constitution (52nd amendment ) Bill which incorporated the tenth schedule in the constitution signified that commitment.

Thirty-four years later, that commitment seems to hold no value. Elected representatives are very much engaged in familiar party-hopping tactics. The mass exodus of MLAs from the vanquished Congress to victorious parties shows that they have no respect for the anti-defection law.

Earlier, the ‘aaya Ram, gaya Ram‘ phenomenon had created an alarming level of political instability. Governments fell frequently as elected representatives exercises their ‘freedom of movement’ a little too literally.

Now, a new phenomenon is at play. MLAs, corporators etc. belonging to defeated parties have started migrating in large number to winning parties. This means parties that lose elections are all but wiped out of legislative bodies. Top leaders from victorious parties openly encourage representatives of defeated parties to defect.

Defection is a politically immoral act, and the anti-defection law ought to have stamped it out. If people have chosen a representative from one party, she has no moral or legal right to defect to another party during her tenure. The tenth schedule disqualifies such representatives, and their legislature membership is terminated. Nevertheless, defection continue. People defect in groups and thus defeat the law.

The latest case is of 12 MLAs from the Congress party “merging” with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the ruling party in Telangana. News reports suggest that groups of MLAs from the Congress in Congress-ruled states are also getting ready to move over to the BJP.

These legislators would do well to pause and take a hard look at the provisions of the anti-defection law. If they do that, they will realise that their actions will most certainly land them in serious trouble. At the moment, they happily believe that if out of 18 MLAs, 12 go over and merge with the ruling party, they will be safe. According to them, if two-thirds of the legislators merge with another party, it does not amount to defection.

Clearly, they do not fully understand the law. Para 4 of the tenth schedule makes three points:

  1. The original political party should merge with another party.
  2. As a result, not less than two-thirds of the members of the legislature party merge with that party.
  3. The merger becomes legally recognisable only when two-thirds of the members of the legislature party also merge with the other party.

In other words, as per para 4 of the tenth schedule, a merger can be legally recognised only when the original party merges with another party, and not less than two-thirds of the members of the legislature party agree to such a merger. So even if two-thirds of the members of the legislature party decide to merge, there would be no merger under para 4 if the original political party does not merge with another party. Thus, in the absence of a merger of the original political party with another party, the merger of the legislators has no legal validity. Hence they will be termed defectors and held liable to be disqualified.

Legislators would do well to understand that the anti-defection law was enacted not to facilitate their defection but to prevent it. Lawmakers have taken care to punish individual defectors, while at the same time protect legislators who act in tandem with their original political party when it merges with another party.

The tenth schedule, as it was originally enacted, contained a provision to protect legislators when an original party splits and one-third of the legislators form another group. This was deleted later when it was found that this provision was being abused by politicians.

An important point needs to be made here. The basic object of the tenth schedule is to prevent defection and thereby protect the stability of the party system as well as of established governments. When we analyse para 3 (now deleted) and para 4, this becomes clear. Para 3 dealt with the split in the original political party and para 4 deals with merger by the original party. In both cases, it is the original political party which initiates the action.

Any unilateral action by legislators, singly or in a group, is always treated as defection. Only if the original party takes the plunge do legislators get protection. Thus, the law says legislators should not abandon their party once they are elected on its ticket unless the party itself decides to merge with another party.

The recent spate of defections in various state legislatures recently shows that defector legislators are under the impression that it is enough to mobilise two-thirds of the members of the legislature party and merge with the ruling party. In this context, the Supreme Court judgment in Rajendra Singh Rana vs Swami Prasad Maurya (2007) is very instructive. Although this case dealt with the split in the legislature party, its ratio applies to a case of merger as well. The court says, “Those who have left the party will have prima facie to show by relevant materials that there has been a split in the original party.”

Similarly, in Jagjit Singh vs State of Haryana as well, the Supreme Court said that the split in the original party is a precondition for recognising a split in the legislature party. The Rajender Singh Rana case was decided by a five-judge constitution bench, which in fact upheld the proposition laid down in Jagjit Singh. The ratio of these decisions apply to a case of merger also.

What happened in Telangana

In Telangana, 12 of the 18 Congress MLAs have merged with the ruling party in the state, the TRS. This merger was endorsed by the chief minister and accepted by the speaker. The defecting Congress MLAs thus instantly became TRS members.

Two points need to be made in this context.

One, para 4 of the tenth schedule says that the original political party should merge with another party first. This would mean that the Congress party should merge with the TRS before these 12 MLAs can merge with that party. But there is no evidence that the Congress party has merged with the TRS. Therefore, there is no legally recognisable merger in Telangana.

Further, the decision to merge with the TRS needs to be taken by the All India Congress Committee and not the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. The Jagjit Singh judgment says, “In case a member is put up by a national party it is a split in that party which is relevant and not a split in that party at the state level.”

Second, media reports say that the speaker has accepted the merger and recognised the defecting MLAs as TRS members.

Under the tenth schedule, the speaker gets jurisdiction to act only when a petition is presented to him under para 6 of the schedule. No such petition seems to have been filed by the Congress party. So the act of the speaker accepting the merger is without jurisdiction, and hence does not count.

The Rajendra Singh Rana judgment says, “Under the 10th schedule the speaker is not expected to simply entertain a claim under para 3 and 4 of the schedule without first acquiring jurisdiction to decide a question of disqualification in terms of the para 6 of the schedule. …The power under the 10th schedule to do so accrues to him only when he is called upon to decide the question referred to him in para 6 of that schedule.”

On the basis of this analysis, it becomes clear that the merger of the 12 Congress MLAs in Telangana is not recognised by law. The speaker’s decision to accept the merger seems to be an act without jurisdiction, and is therefore not sustainable. The result is that these 12 MLAs are liable to be disqualified under para 2 (1)(a) of the tenth schedule, on the grounds that they have voluntarily given up membership of the Congress party.

Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth lists issues to raise in parliament


BJP’s newly elected Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth on Friday identified a number of issues that he would raise before the parliament and other platforms to mitigate people’s woes and ameliorate the condition of Ranchi parliamentary constituency.

Speaking to media, Seth said that he had identified a number of issues like construction of railway over bridge (ROB) at various locations, traffic and water supply problems, stoppage of important trains at particular station, displacement issue, setting up of Forest Research Institute and developing tourist spots that need to be addressed.

“After being elected as Ranchi MP, I have been visiting the entire constituency since a fortnight to interact with people to know their problems. I assured them that their MP would raise the issues vehemently in Parliament and other platforms,” Seth said.


Speaking about his plans, Seth said that he would talk to railway ministry to construct ROB at Chutia and Nagri in Ranchi city. “We have identified that heavy traffic jams at these points create chaos at times. Construction of ROBs at these two points is urgently needed,” he said.

Seth also pointed out that people of small town like Muri didn’t have privilege to travel in Garib Rath as the train doesn’t stop at Muri railway station. “I will see if Muri becomes a stoppage for Garib Rath, “Seth said.


The Ranchi MP showed his concern over rising pollution level in Khalari coal belt. “Coal India Limited (CIL) is engaged in coal mining activities in this area. I have witnessed smoky atmosphere in Khalari and there is no water sprinkling to settle the dust. Traffic jams due to heavy vehicles transporting coal is another major issue. I will knock the doors of state pollution control board and other agencies to solve the problem, “Seth said.


Seth also advocated for setting up a Forest Research Institute in Ranchi and up gradation of Ranchi University as a central university. “Jharkhand is reach in forest reserve but we don’t have a forest research institute. The migration of students from Ranchi for higher studies is another cause of concern,” he said.


Seth said that he would submit a report for the overall development of Ranchi to the NITI Aayog within two months. “The report titled–Antyodaya Se Sarvodaya Tak–would be prepared after consultation with every section of the society. I hope that Aayog would take a positive action in this regard,” he said.


Disclosing his plans on how to serve people better, Seth assured that he would soon open one office (Samadhan Kendra) in each assembly constituency under Ranchi Lok Sabha seat.

“It will be made functional on all seven days of a week except on holidays of festive nature. I will ensure to sit in these offices at least once in every ten days. People need not to visit my place for their work,” Seth said.