A bill to make the Jallianwala Bagh trust apolitical has been tabled by the Modi government in its first parliamentary session since 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The bill proposes to end the automatic nomination of the Congress President and gives more power to the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee.
The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951 provides for the erection a National Memorial in memory of the victims of the 13 April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Act provides for a Trust to maintain the National Memorial. The trustees of the Jallianwala Bagh are as shown below.
The President of the Indian National Congress is one of the trustees, making it favourable to one party. Also, in the absence of a Leader of Opposition, there would be no trustee from the Lok Sabha.
In December 2018, the Centre approved an amendment to the Act to resolve these issues. Consequently, in February the Lok Sabha passed The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2018 which proposes to remove the President of the Indian National Congress as a trustee. It further clarifies that in the absence of a Leader of Opposition the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha would be the trustee.
The bill has also an added clause that allows the central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of his term without assigning any reason.
Despite the efforts of the Central government, the bill wasn’t passed in the Rajya Sabha in February due to the strong opposition of the Congress party. After coming back to power, the Modi government plans to once again bring up the bill for discussion.
The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was one of the 40 bills proposed by the Modi government in its first parliamentary session of the 17th Lok Sabha.