House Committee disbanded

NC Pullout Rendered Panel Infructuous: LC Chairman

FOREST LAND GRAB ROW

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Nov 12: Succumbing to “immense” pressure from “various quarters”, Legislative Council chairman, Amrit Malhotra on Monday dissolved the House Committee probing allegations of forest land grab against PHE Minister, Taj Mohi-ud-Din. Malhotra blamed National Conference (NC) for the dissolution of the panel as, according to him, pullout of the party’s legislators from the House Committee had rendered it infructuous.
On Monday, Malhotra, who was under tremendous pressure over the past few weeks  to review his decision on  constituting  the House Panel to go into allegations against Taj, finally gave in and issued orders for dissolution of  the Committee.
“Since the members belonging to the National Conference have withdrawn from the House Committee that I had constituted to investigate the allegations leveled against Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Minister for Irrigation, PHE and Flood Control by Member Legislative Council, Syed Muhammad Rafiq Shah through a deferred CQ No. 220 which was listed for 11th of October 2012, asserting the involvement of the Minister in the case of illegal possession of forest land in Sedow, Shopian, the said Committee has become practically infructuous,” the order reads.
Malhotra goes on to add; “The Committee does not seem to be in a position to serve any purpose without the participation of the largest political party in the House i.e. National Conference. Against this background, I am convinced that the continuance of the Committee would not serve any purpose. I, therefore, dissolve the committee with immediate effect.”
NC, in a surprise move, on Friday had pulled out its two legislators – Khalid Najib Suharwardy and Bashir Ahmed Veeri - from the five-member House Committee. More surprisingly, the voluntary exit of NC lawmakers came before advancement of opinion by Advocate General, M I Qadri over legal validity of the panel.
Besides resignation of NC legislators on Friday, eight Congress lawmakers - B R Kundal, Naresh Gupta, Amin Bhat, Ali Muhammad Bhat, Jehangir Mir, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Subash Chandar Gupta and Nabroo Gaylson - had also urged LC chairman to quash the committee.
On November 8, Minister for Medical Education, R S Chib had also made a similar demand. Even Taj had himself written four letters to Assembly Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone and LC chairman to get the House Committee quashed.
Rebutting claims of Taj, Malhotra, in today’s order  said that he had constituted committee “in good faith to investigate the allegations and bring facts to light, keeping the rules and conventions of the august House in view. “There was no question of any malafide interest or any personal angle to this issue.”
Curiously, the move to dissolve committee comes at a time when its quorum- presence of three members- was still intact.
“As per the Rules of Procedure, the Committee could have been continued with present set-up of three members as its quorum was still intact. The other option was replacement of NC members, with new faces,” legal experts told Greater Kashmir.
According to them, there was no threat to the committee even if lone Congress legislator, Bashir Ahmad Magray would have resigned from it.
“Although Committee would have lost its quorum in such circumstances, yet chairman was empowered to re-constitute the Committee by appointing new members to maintain its quorum,” they added.
Last night, high drama was witnessed when Bashir Ahmad Magray accused Taj of circulating his “forged” resignation letter.
“I don’t know where from he (Taj) got my letterhead. May be my PSO has provided him the letter head. Taj is has cheated me,” Magray had said.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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