Francis slams culture of passing Bills in haste; Suggests inviting public opinion to eliminate opposition at later stages
PANJIM: In the wake of opposition from different sections over statutory laws ultimately resulting in amendments, ruling MLAs have called for a comprehensive discussion on Bills introduced in the Legislative Assembly, as well as taking into consideration public views before the enactment.
Law & Judiciary Minister Francis D’Souza slammed the present culture of passing Bills in the Assembly in haste. “Our responsibility is to make good laws through unanimous decisions but in the present scenario, Bills are passed without holding proper discussion in the Assembly. Inviting public opinion is also the need of the hour so that there are no opposition/protests after the act of the legislature. There have been so many instances like the Tenancy Act that went through amendment following opposition from the people,” he said, addressing a gathering of sitting and ex-MLAs on the occasion of Goa Legislators’ Day on Tuesday.
Conceding that Goa is among the best states in terms of its tourism, women’s safety, etc, the Mapusa MLA, however, expressed disappointment that successive governments over the past 55 years have not focused on other crucial subjects and sought strong laws on Child Rights and Special Children. He also alleged that cracking down on drugs, prostitution activities and accidents has still not yielded favourable results.
“View of all stakeholders including the public should be considered at the time of drafting a Bill, so that there is one opinion and no room for any amendments in future,” he further said, citing example of Portuguese Civil Code that has remained an integral part of Goa’s life since nearly one and half century.
The former deputy chief minister asked the government to ‘preserve democracy; else it would amount to dictatorial rule’.
Calangute MLA Michael Lobo also pointed at the absence of quality debate on Bills tabled in the Assembly stating, “There is no quality debate on any Bills, no serious debates. I don’t know if some (MLAs) are scared. As MLAs we have the right to express views without fear. Not only the opposition but even ruling MLAs should speak (during the discussion on the passing of the Bill). The debate has to be effective,” he commented.
Speaker Pramod Sawant, who inaugurated the session at Goa Assembly Complex, raised apprehensions on the increasing number of road accidents and suicide bids by youth. “A lot of negativity has seeped in. A number of accidents are taking place. On an average one person is losing his life daily, which means 365 people losing lives annually. Similarly, there are suicides, particularly by the youths,” he revealed, calling for a unanimous move by political leaders cutting across the party lines to contribute towards bringing positivity in the society.