February 5, 2021 1:09:59 am
Lok Sabha could not function for the third consecutive day on Thursday even as the government introduced a Bill to amend the arbitration law amid din over demand for a debate on farmers’ protests. The House, meanwhile, was adjourned four times before being adjourned for the day at 9 pm with few minutes of Question Hour and Zero Hour.
As soon as the House assembled at 4 pm, members of the Opposition started shouting slogans against the government and the three agri laws. Few questions related to the ministry of roads and highways were responded to by Union minister Nitin Gadkari before Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House till 5 pm, barely 20 minutes into the proceedings.
When the House re-convened at 5 pm, members of the Opposition again started raising slogans. The House was adjourned within minutes of some ministers and members laying papers on the table of the House, and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introducing the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill, 2021.
The amendment seeks to ensure that all stakeholders get an opportunity to seek unconditional stay on enforcement of arbitral awards where the agreement or contract is “induced by fraud or corruption”.
Introducing the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amid uproar by Opposition members over the three farm laws, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Bill seeks to check fly-by-night operators who take advantage of the law to get favourable award by fraud.
An ordinance to this effect had earlier been issued on November 4, 2020. The Bill intends to replace the ordinance.
Responding to objections raised by BJD member B Mahtab, Prasad said the government has the legislative competence to amend the law and will go into the merits of the points raised by the member at the time of consideration and passage of the Bill. Mahtab had objected at the introduction stage, saying the Bill “lacks logic and reasoning”.
Till recently, an arbitration award was enforceable even if an appeal was filed against it in the court under Section 36 of the law. But the court could grant a stay on the award on conditions as it deemed fit.
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