Gujarat Assembly passes 8 Bills on penultimate day of Budget session

On the penultimate day of the Budget session on Wednesday, the Gujarat Assembly passed eight Bills, including one to amend Section 195 of the CrPC and sanctioning of eight new private universities.

State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama tabled the Gujarat Private Universities (Amendment) Bill to include eight new private universities, and change the sponsoring body of an existing private university. The Bill was passed by the majority in the House.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the finance portfolio, tabled the Gujarat State Tax on Professionals, Traders, Callings and Employments (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to cover suppliers under the Gujarat GST Act, 2017 who were earlier covered under the VAT Act.

As per the amendment, suppliers exceeding Rs 2.5 lakh per annum will now have to pay Rs 2,500 in tax. The Bill was passed on the basis of majority.

The Gujarat Professional Medical Education Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) (Amendment) Bill was also tabled by Education Minister Chudasama, which seeks unaided colleges or institutions in the disciplines of ayurveda, homeopathy and naturopathy to fill 15 per cent of government seats on the basis of a merit list prepared by Central government authority.

This was required due to the regulation of centralised counselling for admission to AYUSH under under-graduate and post-graduate courses. The Bill was passed unanimously.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat Amendment) Bill amends Section 195 of the CrPC that makes it mandatory for the public servant issuing notification to be the complainant against the violators of Section 144 of CrPC (for violating the notification) if the police need to take legal action against incidents of violation under Section 188 of IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant). The Bill was opposed by the opposition Congress, which dubbed it as blunting the sharpness of democratic edge.

Another amendment Bill, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was presented by the BJP government. Through the amendment, 15 per cent of vacancies of teaching and non-teaching staff in private secondary and higher secondary institutes have been reserved for SC and ST candidates.

It also makes amendment for people aggrieved over dismissal or removal etc. in private schools to approach the Gujarat Educational Institutions Services Tribunal constituted in 2013. The amendment shall also be applicable to religious and linguistic minority institutions. The Bill was passed in the house on the basis of majority.

The Gujarat Panchayat Service Selection Board (GPSSB) will be able to carry out recruitment of all cadres of panchayat service Class III employees in a centralised manner “to bring uniformity in direct recruitment” through the Gujarat Panchayats (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Congress MLA from Danilimda, Shailesh Parmar, at the start of the day’s business raised a point of order regarding the unavailability of copies of three Bills which were to be tabled in the House. As the legislators were not provided the copies of the Bills four days prior to their tabling, they should not be tabled, as per the provisions of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly Proceedings Act, he said. 

The leader of the opposition Paresh Dhanani urged Speaker Rajendra Trivedi to reprimand the government for this. Pradeepsinh Jadeja, Minister of Legislative Affairs, and Deputy CM Nitin Patel admitted that there was a lapse on the part of the government.

However, the Speaker allowed the three Bills to be tabled, while also reprimanding the government over the lapse.