Language ordinance returned on ‘technical issue’; 6 Bills pending with Karnataka Gov Gehlot: Minister HK Patil

Minister Patil said the Karnataka Governor, in his clarification while returning the ordinance, said it should be passed in the Assembly.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 02, 2024 | 10:42 AMUpdatedFeb 02, 2024 | 10:42 AM

Anti conversion law

There are six Bills pending with Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot, state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister HK Patil has said, even as he clarified that Raj Bhavan had returned the Karnataka Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Ordinance-2024, or the KLCDA ordinance, due to a “technical issue”.

The Patil’s reaction came after the Governor returned the ordinance regarding 60 percent usage of Kannada language in signboards.

All the six Bills, the minister said, are in the stage of correspondence between his department and the Governor’s office.

There are a few Bills pending with the Governor, who has sought some details, the minister said on Thursday, 1 February, adding that his department is providing them.

“Since there is a correspondence going on between the parliamentary affairs department and the Governor’s office, there is nothing I should discuss at this point in time,” Patil said.

The minister further said, “We had sent 19 Bills, out of which six are yet to come (with his assent). He (Gehlot) has sent back some bills seeking details while he is yet to respond to a few others.”

Also Read: Karnataka Congress MP DK Suresh walks back ‘separate country’ after backlash

‘Bills not returned’

Patil, however, clarified that the Governor has not returned the Bills. Instead, he has only sought some details. They are pending since last session, he added.

“For example, we wanted to set up Yallamma Gudda Development Board. So, the Governor has asked for some details. So, we furnished all those information. He had also sought details about the Bombay Public Trust Act, which we have provided,” Patil explained.

Regarding the Governor returning the KLCDA ordinance, the minister said it was returned due to a “technical issue”.

“In my understanding it is just technical issue. Even the Governor in his clarification has said that this should be passed in the legislature. Since the ordinance came up after we announced a date (to conduct the legislature session), it has to tabled in the legislature again,” Patil added.

Watch: ‘Satisfying 17-year journey but should have been allowed to stay till…’ says Dr CN Manjunath

Why an ordinance?

The Karnataka Cabinet had, on 5 January, given its approval to an ordinance to amend the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Act that mandates 60 percent use of the state’s language in signages.

The government had decided to take the ordinance route in the wake of violent protests by pro-Kannada organisations targeting businesses and establishments in Bengaluru for not giving prominence to Kannada on their signboards.

In December, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said that the ordinance would ensure that 60 percent of space on signboards and nameplates is dedicated to Kannada, with the rest left to any other language. The ordinance was to come into effect on 28 February.

The government will also bring an amendment to Section 17(6) of the KLCDA of 2022, which was promulgated by the previous BJP government on 10 March, 2023, ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, he said.

Speaking about the KLCDA, the chief minister said that Section 17(6) of the Act says that commercial, industrial or business organisations, institutions, hospitals, laboratories, entertainment centres, hotels, etc, should allocate half of the space on signboards and nameplates to information in Kannada, with the consent of either government or the local representatives.

The rest of the portion can be in any other language.

However, he said that in his previous stint as chief minister, he had issued a circular on 24 March, 2018, which said that 60 percent of the space on nameplates and signboards should be in Kannada.

“We decided that the signboards and nameplates should be 60:40 as per the previous circular. We will bring an amendment to Section 17(6) of the said Act, which was introduced by the Kannada and Culture Department,” he said.

(With Inputs from PTI)