Stepping up its attack on the government over Income Tax Amendment Bill, a united opposition on Thursday evening petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee against it, alleging the legislation was hurriedly passed in the Lok Sabha bypassing parliamentary rules and procedures.
As many as 16 opposition parties, including Congress, arch rivals TMC and the Left, SP and BSP, besides DMK, JMM, NCP and others met the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan and handed over a memorandum, which alleged a “brute and authoritarian” government was “stifling” the democratic process.
The JD-U, whose president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has supported demonetisation, however, was not part of the delegation.
“We appeal to you as the custodian and protector of the Constitution to intervene at this juncture as the democratic rights are being trampled upon by a brute and authoritarian government that is hell bent upon stifling the democratic and legislative process of our Parliament,” the memorandum said.
It said the mandatory provisions of Constitution and Rules of Procedure were “totally violated” in passing the Bill.
The memorandum said though Lok Sabha members raised these issues in the House, their democratic rights were denied on the plea that there was no time to wait for the President’s assent as the bill was very important.
“This is not permissible in law and amounts to undermining the authority of the President of India,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum also said it is mandatory under Rule 82 that the Minister shall inform the House in writing whether the recommendation of the President for moving amendments has been given, withheld or rejected.
It said any legislation, especially the one like IT Amendment Bill, which not only relates to taxation but also involves the issue of eliminating the scourge of black money, calls for a detailed discussion in both Houses of Parliament.
“The government, for reasons beyond our comprehension, passed this Bill without affording opportnity and depriving us of our democratic rights and privileges as Members of the Houses, a travesty to the principles of democracy,” the memorandum said.