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Profit bill: Govt blinks, sets up JPC

Profit bill: Govt blinks, sets up JPC

Author: Times News Network
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 18, 2006

Introduction: Move meant to appease Prez, keep poll panel at bay

With President A P J Abdul Kalam giving no indication that he would give his assent to the office of prof- it bill before August 24-by which time the Election Commission could start disqualification proceedings against 45 MPs supporting the ruling coalition-the UPA government blinked on Thursday, signalling its readiness to consider incorporating his suggestions in the proposed law.

In a move clearly aimed at appeasing Rashtrapati Bhavan and warding off uncertainty about the parliamentary berths of its supporters, the government announced the setting up of a 15-member joint parliamentary committee to examine the three reservations that President Kalam had cited when he denied his assent to the bill in the first round. Government sources conceded that the setting up of the panel could be a step towards rewriting the law in accordance with the suggestions of the President.

The government had brushed aside the caveats suggested by the President and endorsed by the opposition to get the bill passed by parliament and had sent it to him in its original form.

However, it panicked when the President showed no sign of giving his assent to the bill. Its concern also stemmed from the fact that while the constitution obliges the President to give his assent to a bill which is sent to him a second time, it does not lay down a time-frame for the purpose.

The defiance contrasted sharply with the anxiety it showed on Thursday in the Lok Sabha.

The motion for the constitution of the JPC was moved without any intimation and, unusually, without the names of all those who would be on it, betraying the government's anxiety to secure assent for the bill before the EC sets the disqualification ball in motion.

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