Punja govt to move SC over Guv calling Punjab House session ‘patently illegal’

Chandigarh: In a fresh round of tussle between Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Puhorit and the ruling AAP, the state government has decided to move the Supreme Court on October 30 to determine if the Assembly proceedings were lawful in the light of Purohit’s objections.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann told the state Assembly on Friday that his government would move the SC against the governor’s refusal to clear three bills due to be tabled during the two-day session of the assembly. The House was then adjourned indefinitely hours after the proceedings began on the first day of the session. Purohit on Thursday wrote to the Chief Minister, withholding his approval for the bills.

Mann told Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan that his government would not table the bills, and urged him to adjourn the assembly sine die. He said the government would get a direction from the Supreme Court and then the House could be reconvened next month “Such letters (written by Purohit) do not stand the court scrutiny. I do not want to escalate the tussle with the governor any further. We won’t table any bill until we are sure that this session is legal. We will move the court on October 30 as there are holidays till then,’’ said Mann.

Following Mann’s request, a resolution to adjourn the assembly sine die was moved, and then passed by the House. Meanwhile, Congress MLA Pargat Singh said when the Speaker had already declared the session legal, and he is the custodian of the House, the government should have gone ahead with the bills. Purohit on Thursday wrote to Mann withholding his approval for the three bills.

Strongly suggesting the government to call either a monsoon or winter session instead of choosing to continue with the course, he had said that if the government continued with the “patently illegal session,” he would be compelled to consider an appropriate course of action, including reporting the matter to the President.

Session legal: Speaker

Punjab Assembly Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan told the House that the two-day session being held was legal. His remarks came after the opposition Congress sought his ruling in the wake of the Governor’s observations. “As the Speaker of the House, this Chair deems the session legal,’’ Sandhwan said in the House after the leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa sought his ruling in the matter.