NEW DELHL India: The Indian President, Zail Singh, has resumed the Postal Bill to the Parliament for reconsideration. The Postal Amendment Bill envisages vesting power to the government to intercept letters, packets and all types of mail. The President is also sending a message, listing the amendments which he has suggested to the government and which has been a matter of discussion between him and the government.

The possibility of the settlement of the Bill emerged nearly three weeks ago when Rajesh Pilot, Minister of State for Service and Transportation acted as a go-between. The President agreed to sign the Bill on the assurance that government will issue a press note affirming its resolve about effecting necessary amendments as soon as possible. This was also to be preceded by a meeting by the Prime Minister with the President to give him oral assurance on the same time.

After the President waited for a settlement proposal by Mr. Pilot to take shape the government went into silence. Even indiscreet enquiries from the Rashtrapati Bhavan did not evoke any response. The President reportedly did not want to wait further. A similar exercise had taken place over two months ago when Central Ministers Arjan Singh and Buta Singh had met the President. They too were evasive in their assurances that the government would amend the Bill in the light of suggestions made by the President. They wanted him to give his assent in the meantime but he insisted on having assurances either in the shape of a letter or a statement. This is the first time when President would return the Bill passed by the Parliament.

In earlier cases President had expressed reservations on important legislation. In 1950, President Rajinder Parsad wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru advising him against rushing through with the Hindu Code Bill. Nehru had sharply reacted to the note of the President though Rajinder Parsad stuck to his stand. Later when the Bill was passed by the parliament he gave his assent to the enactment.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 13, 1987