New Delhi: The vexed land acquisition bill is all set to face the crucial test at the hands of the joint parliamentary panel which may take up clause-by-clause consideration of the measure later this month.
At today's meeting of the Joint Committee of Parliament, members decided that if the government is able to reply to their queries on July 16, the panel could take up clause-by-clause consideration of the bill from July 22.
The committee decided to summon secretaries of concerned ministries on July 16 to listen to their views of the amendments to the 2013 Act. The secretaries from Legal Affairs, Legislative Department, Rural Development and Commerce Ministries, and top officials from Railways are likely to appear before the committee.
At least two members said after the meeting that if the committee is able to satisfy itself about the questions raised by it on July 16, the panel may reach the crucial phase of considering the various amendments brought by the NDA government through an ordinance.
The ordinance was later brought as a bill in the Lok Sabha and referred to the committee amidst opposition to its various provisions by several political parties.
Between July 16 and 18, members would also get notices to move their amendments to the bill.
The panel, which had sought an extension of one week has now been given time till July 28 -- first day of second week of Monsoon session beginning July 21 -- to complete its task.
Since sitting BJP member Dileep Singh Bhuraia had passed away last month, the Lok Sabha is likely to adjourn for the day on July 21 after paying obituaries.
Panel chairman S S Ahluwalia of BJP may not be able to move a motion in the House seeking extension and he is likely to do the same on July 22, some members said.
Since the committee was formed by a motion of the House, it will officially get an extension after Ahluwalia moves a motion in this regard. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is learnt to have have approved moving the motion for extension.
Since the Joint Committee of Parliament is different from
a department-related standing committee or an investigative Joint Parliamentary Committee, it will present a bill in Parliament based on the amendments moved by members as well as the government.
Once the amendments have been moved, they would be discussed on a clause-by-clause basis. If there is a unanimity, the bill will be adopted. Otherwise, there could also be a vote on the amendments. The Committee will then table the bill -- as reported by it -- in both Houses of Parliament.
One option before the government is to move official amendments in Parliament based on amendments moved by NDA members in the committee. This may happen after the committee submits the bill prepared by it in both Houses.
So far, the panel has heard various organisations and individuals on the amendments to the 2013 law. Most of the, including some RSS affiliates, have opposed the changes, including removal of consent clause and social impact assessment.
There are indications that government may reintroduce a "diluted" consent clause to mellow down opposition to the bill.