President Pranab Mukherjee has given seven more days to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to decide on the Telangana Bill.
As the earlier deadline to return the Bill after consideration ended on Thursday, the President accepted the state government’s plea for more time to debate the Bill. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill is currently with the state Assembly which is still debating it. It was to be returned to the President on Thursday, but now it can debate the matter till January 30.
The state has to take a decision on the Bill ahead of the extended winter session of Parliament which would commence from February 5 and end on February 21.
The President had on December 12 referred the draft Bill to the state Assembly under Article 3 of the Constitution for its opinion and asked it to return the Bill by January 23. A few days ago, Andhra Pradesh Government, sought four weeks extension on the ground that the time given was not sufficient to complete the debate.
But, according to sources, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs did not want to give four weeks time and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde wanted to recommend only seven days extension. Sources pointed out that since it is a political decision, Shinde first got a clearance from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who is keen to push through the Telangana Bill in the current session. Shinde also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the issue. After Shinde got political clearance, he sent the recommendation to the President through PM’s Office on Thursday morning. Constitutional experts explained that the state Assembly decision was in no way binding on Parliament which could pass the Bill bifurcating the state.