Chandigarh: Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema Saturday said there was nothing unlawful about the upcoming session of the Punjab assembly and asked the governor to change his legal advisor.
His remarks came a day after the governor’s secretariat said the October 20-21 session — being projected as an extension of the Budget session — is “bound to be illegal” and any business conducted during it “unlawful”.
The response of the governor’s office came days after the Bhagwant Mann government called a two-day sitting of the Punjab assembly.
Speaking to reporters here, Cheema said no discussion on the governor secretariat’s letter took place in the Saturday cabinet meeting held here.
“But I want to tell honourable governor saab that (the upcoming) session is legal and important bills will come up in the session which are related to the Punjab government and the people of Punjab. I think the governor saab should not make any comment on the Punjab bills,” said Cheema.
“He should change his legal advisor,” the minister said in a swipe at Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Asked that the governor had already called the June 19-20 session as illegal and had not given any assent to the four bills passed in that sitting, Cheema replied that the state government has not yet received any letter from Purohit showing whether he has given his assent to those bills or not.
“But I understand that the Vidhan Sabha is made for passing laws for the state and for the welfare of the state,” Cheema said.
“And I think that the governor saab will give his assent (to the bills),” he added.
This is for the second time this year that a row erupted between the AAP government and the Raj Bhavan over the summoning of an assembly sitting and fresh developments are likely to escalate it further.
The Raj Bhavan reminded the assembly secretary on Thursday that a few months ago, the governor had termed a similar special sitting of the budget session in June “patently illegal”.
Punjab officials had earlier said the October 20-21 session would be an extension of the fourth session — the budget session in March. Officials argue that the session will be an extension of the budget session and there is no need to take the approval of the governor.
The October 20-21 session is widely expected to discuss the recent Supreme Court directive on the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal in Punjab, a project which the state is reluctant to complete, claiming that it has no water to spare for neighbouring Haryana.
According to the tentative schedule issued by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat on Friday, the sitting will begin with obituary references on October 20 at 11 am, followed by legislative business to be taken up at 12 pm. The House will take up legislative business on October 21.
The Punjab government has locked horns with the Raj Bhavan on several issues in the past.
In July, Purohit said that once the business of the meeting is over and nothing remains to be transacted, the meeting cannot be artificially kept alive. His response had come after Mann urged him to sign the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, aimed at ensuring a free-to-air telecast of ‘Gurbani’ from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
It was one of the four bills passed during the June 19-20 session. The bills are still lying with the governor for his approval.
PTI

Oct 20-21 Punjab assembly session not unlawful, Guv should change his legal advisor: Minister added by on
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