Guwahati, April 4: Will Assam be witness to an Upper House – a State Legislative Council? It seems unlikely.
When the issue was raised in the State Legislative Assembly on Wednesday by AGP MLA Phani Bhusan Choudhury, it became somewhat clear that an Upper House for the State could well be a mere mirage.
According to the information provided by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, the Legislative Department of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had written to the Assam Chief Secretary a letter on December 8 last year saying the department would be grateful if the chief secretary could convey the views of the State government as to whether the Assam Legislative Bill, 2013, introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 10, 2013 for creation of a Legislative Council in Assam, could be perused further for its fructification. The letter said, “In case no reply is received by 31 January 2018, it would be presumed that the State government does not intend to pursue the matter and further action will be taken to withdraw the bill since a few parliamentarians have voiced concern over bills pending in the House for unduly long period.”
This was the last communication between the Centre and the State on the issue. Before this too, the Centre had sent two letters to the State government asking for views on the subject but the State government preferred to keep mum.
It has a recurring demand of various ethnic tribes of the State for the constitution of an Upper House so that they could be represented well. However, it is doubtful whether the present Dispur dispensation is interested in any such initiative.