House Panel To Be Withdrawn Today

House Panel To Be Withdrawn Today

11 November 2012
Rising Kashmir
Nasrun Mir

Srinagar: Giving in to tremendous pressure from Congress High Command, Chairman Legislative Council Amrit Malhotra is all set to withdraw the order by which a house committee was set up to probe the allegations against PHE and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohiuddin accusing him of grabbing the forest land. On Saturday Malhotra had stood his ground saying that he was within his rights to constitute the panel. As two National Conference members of Legislative Council Khalid Suhrawardy and Bashir Ahmed Veeri had resigned from the house committee headed by PDP MLC Murtaza Khan, seven members from Congress had written to chairman to quash it. However, the committee with three members still had a quorum to take up the issue. Other two members were National Panther Party’s Rafiq Shah and Congress’s Bashir Ahmad Magray. Sources told Rising Kashmir that Malhotra had stuck to his position saying that the committee was constitutional. This he said after Taj raised the point that it was not within his competence to set up the committee when house was not in session. 'In terms of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council and the established Parliamentary Practices, the House Committees are constituted in two ways, either on a motion adopted by the House or nominated by the Presiding Officer, such an order is always issued by the Presiding Officer, under his hand and seal” Malhorta was quoted to have written to the government in a detailed letter. 'Government Business Rules are applicable only in respect of administrative actions and decisions concerning the Council Secretariat, while all issues relating to the business of the House and Parliamentary functions are governed by the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House. Hence, any doubt regarding the issuance of the order constituting the House Committee under my hand and seal is misplaced', he had added in the letter. But on political side, he is seemed to have been left alone as Congress is deeply divided into two factions one headed by PCC Chief Saifuddin Soz and other by Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The seven MLC’s who wrote to chairman owe their allegiance to Azad faction and the lone member of Soz faction is Magray. After the National Conference threw its weight behind Taj by asking two members to resign, the situation virtually took the turn of “all being on one side”. Sources said that top level leader of Congress in Delhi have also mounted tremendous pressure on Malhorta to withdraw the order to avoid any embarrassement to the party in case the committee continued with its proceedings. Since Soz faction has been left “powerless”, the other faction prevailed and managed to get a strong signal for Chairman from Delhi. Taj has himself lobbied very hard in Delhi to upset the whole issue, which he thought was against his person. Sources maintained that Chairman citing the reason that entire house on one side would announce the withdrawal of the committee in winter capital Jammu today.