Ordinance for contingency proposed

| 15 March 2002 17:28 IST

In spite of stiff opposition from the legal luminaries and opposition parties, the BJP government in Goa went ahead with a recommendation to the state governor to increase the contingency fund by over hundred folds, to meet its regular expenditure.

The situation has arisen in the tourist state in the wake of sudden dissolution of the state Assembly on 27 February, on the eve of the budget session scheduled on 13 March.

"It is an unanimous and legally well-advised decision of the cabinet", chief minister Manohar Parrikar told the press persons at the cabinet briefing today evening.

The cabinet resolution has recommended to advise to Governor Mohammed Fazal to promulgate ordinance by amending section 2 of the Goa Contingency Act 1998, increasing financial limit from Rs 10 crore to Rs 1090 crore, till 31 July 2002.

Pending presentation of the annual budget, the state is going for fresh Assembly polls within 32 months, only after which the budget will be presented in the new Assembly. The elections are thus expected to be held before monsoons arrive here in the first week of June.

Besides the opposition parties like the Congress, NCP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, several legal experts have also been consistently opposing Parrikar's move to draw funds from the contingency fund, describing it unconstitutional.

The only option they have proposed is to impose President's rule under Article 356 and get the budget passed through the Parliament. This could not be done as the Assembly was dissolved under Art 174 (2) b, which does not provide for passing the budget through the Parliament.

Against their argument that contingency is meant only for 'unforeseen expenditure' and not for the routine foreseen expenditure like salaries etc, Parrikar argues that it is also meant for such kind of 'unforeseen circumstances'.

The ball has now been thrown into the court of the state governor, who has already come under heavy criticism for dissolving the House without considering these factors. There are two petitions also filed by the Congress leaders in this regard, which may come up for hearing on Monday.

Meanwhile, the cabinet has also proposed to the governor to issue necessary ordinances, in order to extend all the financial acts and bills, expiring on 31 March, till 31 July.

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