NDTV recently published an article titled, “Narendra Modi first PM to be absent during a constitutional amendment”. The news story was based on a statement made by Congress leader and former Union Minister, Mr. Jairam Ramesh. The words of the minister were treated as a gospel truth by New Delhi Television Limited and this India’s not so leading news platform, made no any attempts to cross-check or verify them.
There have been 122 amendments in the constitution so far and it would be a very far stretched assumption to claim this incident as being the first constitutional amendment to have taken place in absence of the Prime Minister of India.
In fact the first Prime Minster to abstain from a constitutional amendment sitting of the parliament has been Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru himself who skipped the Amendment of articles 269 and 286 as also amendment to schedule 7(amendments of center and state lists for taxation allocations),which was passed by the parliament on 11th September 1956. It was steered by the then Finance Minister of India, CD Deshmukh while the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru was actually on an official visit to United Kingdom.
His daughter Indira Gandhi is also noted to have missed the 37th constitutional Amendment Act 1975. Amendment of articles 239A and 240 for the formation of Arunachal Pradesh legislative system was passed on 1st April. 1975 and was steered by the then Home Minister of India, KB Reddy Ji while the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi Ji was away on an Official Visit to the Common Wealth conference in West Indies!
It was by the virtue of the enactment of 37th Constitutional Amendment Act 1975 that the Arunachal Pradesh Council was constituted as a separate Legislative Assembly and Lt. Governor was appointed as the head of the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh.
It shall be noted that nowhere does our constitution mentions about the necessity of Prime Minister to be physically present during constitutional amendments. It is presupposed that any such provision being moved in the house will have the consent and agreement of the majority leader of the house and hence his physical presence isn’t deemed necessary.
By making a fuss about such a non-issue while being unaware of the past of their own party leaders, Congress leaders like Jairam Ramesh expose nothing but the bankruptcy of ideas in the party and their utter disdain. And channels like NDTV disregarded by general populace of India worsen their cases furthermore.
While talking of a ‘PM Mukt Parliament’, Mr. Jairam Ramesh was trying to elude the reality of a Congress Mukt Bharat and such desperate attempts of scoring brownie points would only contribute to the downfall of India’s grand old party.
It would be interesting to note that Congress party, which never-ever had an ideology anyways and is now suffering from a serious vacuum of leadership at its helm, is quickly losing its prints from state after state.
Surely desperate times call for desperate measures, but those measures necessarily need not to be nonsensical and absurd. Tough Luck Jairam Ramesh and NDTV.