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Exclusive: No Telangana Bill this winter session?

By A Correspondent
December 02, 2013 16:37 IST
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President Pranab Mukherjee, a stickler of rules, will give the Andhra assembly six weeks (up to January 23) to respond to the draft bill on Telangana

It is unlikely that the Centre will be able to bring the Telangana resolution in the winter session of the Parliament.

President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to go strictly by the rulebook and provide six weeks time to the Andhra Pradesh assembly (up to January 23) to pass a resolution on the bifurcation and creation of Telangana. He is in no mood to hurry such a sensitive issue, highly placed sources tell    

On December 8, the President will receive the Cabinet resolution on bifurcation, which he is expected to study for three to four days. By December 12, the presidential direction will be sent to the speaker of the Andhra Pradesh assembly, giving it 42 days (the cut off date would be January 24) to clear the draft.

The winter session of the Parliament will start on December 5 and end on December 20.

A highly placed political source confirmed that Mukherjee has consulted legal experts on Article 3 of the Constitution, which deals with the formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states. 

He is following in the footsteps of former President K R Narayanan, who gave six weeks when three smaller states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarkhand -- were formed during the National Democratic Alliance regime.  

Meanwhile, hectic behind-the-scene activities are on in New Delhi to send the Telangana Bill draft to the Andhra assembly. Two Union ministers are in constant touch with the President and are keeping him posted on the proceedings of the Group of Ministers, formed to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.    

The two ministers also confirmed that Mukherjee will indicate in his communiqué and direction to the Andhra assembly to respond in six weeks, thus ensuring that the state and its people are given sufficient time to discuss and deliberate the creation of Telangana.  

What Article 3 in The Constitution Of India 1949 says on smaller states?

Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states: Parliament may by law

(a) Form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state

(b) Increase the area of any state

(c) Diminish the area of any state

(d) Alter the boundaries of any state

(e) Alter the name of any state; provided that no bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states, the bill has been referred by the President to the legislature of that state for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired

Explanation I: In this article, in clauses (a) to (e), state includes a Union territory, but in the proviso, state does not include a Union territory

Explanation II: The power conferred on Parliament by clause (a) includes the power to form a new state or Union territory by uniting a part of any state or Union territory to any other state or Union territory

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A Correspondent in New Delhi