Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad today demanded that the BJP-led government at the centre should seek consent of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly before amending the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the Parliament and Rajya Sabha.
The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was today put in the Rajya Sabha by
Azad demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly should pass the bill in the assembly.
“Jammu and Kashmir is the sensitive state and the situation is different as compared to past. Only a spark is needed to ignite a fire. BJP is ruling the state with PDP. The state government should pass the bill in Legislative Assembly first, then the parliament and Rajya Sabha can pass it,” Azad demanded.
The Collection of Statistics Act was passed in 2008 and it did not extend to J &K because as per Article 370 of the Constitution, J&K assembly has to extend it to the state. The J&K has passed its own “Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010” but only for State subjects.
“Today an amendment to the 2008 Act has been passed by the Rajya Sabha to extend it to J&K. As a practice, J&K Assembly should have been asked to pass the bill instead of Parliament passing it respecting Article 370,” Azad said.
However, the Union Statistics Minister, Sadananda Gowda said that Census is in the Union list.
“The rights of Kashmiris are not infringed through this Bill. The data collected from Jammu and Kashmir will be used for the development of the region. We had sent a cabinet note regarding the Bill to the Jammu and Kashmir government. But they haven’t responded to it,” Gowda said.
He said only residuary powers rest with the State government. The parliament has absolute power, he says throwing his weight behind the Bill.
Azad raised the issue while the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha and insisted that looking at the special status of J&K, and since BJP is ruling the Centre as well and is running a coalition Government in the State, they should ask the State Govt to pass the bill in J&K Assembly instead of passing it in the Parliament.
“However, the Govt passed the said amendment in Parliament,” he said.
He said that the central government has not informed the state government or the former four-time chief minister and present MP Farooq Abdullah about the bill.
“There are a lot of misinformation on this status. The national parties and Kashmir’s political parties were not asked for suggestions before bringing up the Bill.”
He urged the government to pause the debate, take it up with the State government and then bring the Bill to the House.