Terming passage of the Income Tax Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha without any discussion akin to trampling of democracy, 16 opposition parties, including the Congress, on Thursday met President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention in the matter.
Amid loud protests by the opposition, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, to facilitate levy of 60 percent tax on undisclosed income.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Mohammad Salim were among a host of leaders from the opposition parties, who met Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention in the matter.
"There is a sense in the country that voice of the people is being suppressed. This is being done across the country and now being done inside parliament," Gandhi told media persons after the meeting.
"This is not the way to run parliamentary business and that is why we came to the President here to complain. We complained to him how the voice of parliament, voice of the Lok Sabha is being crushed," he said.
"Sixteen opposition parties came to speak to the President about the way the Taxation Amendment Bill was passed. Naturally we are aggrieved as parliamentary system is being diluted. So we approached the President urging him to ensure that bills are passed according to rules and regulations. We hope to get positive results," said Bandyopadhyay.
"The Constitution lays down in detail the procedure of passing a bill. In our memorandum to the President, we said that it was a black day in the history of parliament when this bill was passed in contravention of the constitution," said Salim.
The memorandum said: "Members of Lok Sabha had given 11 notices of amendments to the Bill of which seven required Presidential assent. We were not allowed to move these seven amendments.
"The mandatory provision of the Constituion and the Rules of Procedure are being totally violated in passing this Bill. The government, for reasons beyond our comprehension, passed this Bill without affording opportunity and depriving our democratic rights and privileges, a travesty of justice."
According to the Bill, the declarant will have to pay a tax of 60 per cent and an additional surcharge of 25 per cent of the tax (i.e. 15 per cent of income), resulting in a total tax component of 75 per cent.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while moving the bill for consideration and passing, called it one of the steps by the central government to curb black money.
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