On the last day of the winter session of Parliament, the government managed to get four Bills cleared by Rajya Sabha without any discussion. But several of its last-minute attempts to push through some other pending business were firmly thwarted by the Opposition.
The Upper House, which had remained mostly paralysed throughout the session, cleared the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, and the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, all of which the Opposition had agreed to pass in a morning meeting. After some persuasion from the government, the House also passed the Payment of Bonus Act that seeks to give increased bonus to workers with retrospective effect from April 1, 2014.
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But the Opposition blocked the Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill that proposes to increase the ceiling on production of sugar from Rs 25 per quintal to Rs 200 per quintal. It also refused to entertain a plea to consider and pass the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill.
Many other Opposition members had earlier raised questions over the manner in which the Bills were being hurried through without any discussion.
“Already, suggestions have been made from some quarters that Rajya Sabha be abolished. Are we not helping that cause by passing Bills without any debate or discussion?” Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the TMC said as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought to get the Bills cleared quickly.
The Left parties staged a walkout when Kurien did not allow discussions to take place.