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Posted at: Nov 20, 2019, 7:11 AM; last updated: Nov 20, 2019, 7:11 AM (IST)

Parliament passes Bill to amend Jallianwala Act

New Provisions

  • Leaders chosen by people will hold the post of president of the Trust that runs Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial
  • It empowers Centre to remove Congress chief as permanent member of the Trust to make it apolitical
  • Leader of the single largest Opposition party will be the trustee, if there is no Leader of Opposition in LS
  • It gives the government power to unilaterally terminate the term of a nominated trustee without giving reason
Parliament passes Bill to amend Jallianwala Act

Ravi S Singh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill to amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951, while approving it through voice vote amid opposition by the Congress. The Bill had sailed through the Lok Sabha in the last session.

The Bill was taken up by the upper House for consideration in the wake of adjournment of the House. The Opposition leaders in the House met Chairman Venkaiah Naidu this morning after the adjournment and discussed the context that led to it. The House was adjourned till 2 pm.

Leader of Opposition in the House Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharad Pawar (NCP), Ramgopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC), TK Rangarajan (CPI-M) and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal were among those who attended the meeting.

In his reply to the discussion on the Bill, Culture Minister Prahlad Joshi assured the House that there was no politics and questioned the Congress for opposing it.

The constitution of the Trust has been done in a democratic and transparent way, he said.

In the new dispensation, the leaders chosen by the people will hold the post of president of the Trust as a trustee.

He said the government’s intention was to build a memorial such that sacrifice of martyrs is perpetuated in the memory of future generations.

It empowers the Union Government to remove the Congress president as a permanent member of the Trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial to make it apolitical.

It clarifies that the leader of the single largest Opposition party will be the trustee in the contingency of on there being no Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Also, it imbues the government with power to unilaterally terminate the term of a nominated trustee. It will be not be obligated to assign reason for it.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Partap Singh Bajwa (Congress) urged for its withdrawal while raising objection to its provisions. Questioning the provision to remove Congress president as a trustee, he said the party has made historical contributions to the country’s freedom struggle. Hence, removing its president was objectionable.

Bajwa demanded conferment of Bharat Ratna on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

KK Ragesh of the CPI (M) and Tiruchisiva of DMK said the Bill stemmed from malice of the government.

Sukhendu Roy of the TMC and Prof Ramgopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party demanded that descendents of the families of the victim of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre must be brought in the Trust .

Roy also urged for the renovation of the place which houses the mortal remains of martyr Udham Singh.

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