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Indian parliament passes amended land swap bill

WT24 Desk

The historic India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement Bill, which contained some drafting errors when passed by Parliament last week, was today again cleared by the Rajya Sabha., reports agency.  The Constitution amendment bill to allow the operationalisation of the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement was cleared by both the Houses unanimously last week. But there was an error in numbering of the bill because of which it had to be approved again.

The official amendment was carried out in the short title of the bill. But due to an oversight, the same amendment could not be carried out in the schedules of the bill. While it was introduced as the 119th Amendment Bill 2013, it should have been passed as 100th Amendment Act 2015.   The Bill was passed today in Rajya Sabha in 15 minutes after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj moved it in the House.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “It has caused an embarrassment for the House, more so as it is about an international agreement.” He said the officials concerned in drafting the bills should go line by line to avoid errors. Sitaram Yechury (CPIM) said this should be a “warning” for the government. Swaraj said the Lok Sabha had passed the bill with the necessary amendments and therefore it was moved in the Rajya Sabha once again today.

“We were of the understanding that by amending the short tile of the bill, the other amendments in the bill will be carried out consequentially. “But when the Bill was taken up in Lok Sabha, the House insisted on carrying out the necessary amendments in Section 3 which was amended accordingly and therefore it had to be taken up by Rajya Sabha today,” she said. She hailed both the Houses for unanimously passing it.

The bill seeks to settle India’s 41-year-old border issue with Bangladesh and ratify exchange of 162 enclaves adversely held by the two countries. Under the pact, India will get 510 acres while Bangladesh will get 10,000 acres. The measure, apart from demarcating the boundaries, would also help checking illegal immigration. After the error had come to light last Friday, Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is also chairman of the Rajya Sabha, was upset that the officials of the departments concerned failed to carry out the amendment

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