Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Friday called for a debate on a Constitutional provision that provides for automatic lapsing of any Bill passed by Lok Sabha but remains pending in Rajya Sabha on the dissolution of the Lower House of Parliament. A “rethink” on the provision, he said, will not let Lok Sabha’s time go waste.
Naidu, who is the chairman of Rajya Sabha, had another suggestion: A Bill which is not taken up for consideration and passage within five years of introduction should automatically be treated as lapsed. Since Rajya Sabha is a permanent House, Bills introduced there do not lapse, and remain pending, sometimes for decades.
Pointing out that 22 Bills lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha since these had been introduced in the Lower House first, Naidu told members of Rajya Sabha: “As all of you would appreciate, it takes considerable time and energy to get a Bill passed in either House of Parliament. Given the implications for the functioning of Parliament and the impact of Bills getting lapsed on the much desired transformation of our country, there is a need to rethink the provision regarding the lapsing of Bills in the Upper House of Parliament.”
Under Article 107 of the Constitution “a Bill which is pending in the House of the People, or which having been passed by the House of the People is pending in the Council of States, shall subject to the provisions of Article 108, lapse on a dissolution of the House of the People”. Bills that lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha include The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Triple Talaq Bills of 2017 and 2018, The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
“In effect, Lok Sabha has to take up these 22 Bills again for consideration and passing. I am afraid it would take a minimum of two sessions for doing so. And this means that the efforts of Lok Sabha for passing these 22 Bills have been rendered waste,” Naidu said.
Among the 33 Bills that have survived in Rajya Sabha after the Lok Sabha term came to an end are some that have been pending for decades. Naidu pointed out that three Bills have been pending for more than 20 years, six Bills for 10-20 years, 14 Bills for 5-10 years and 10 Bills for less than 5 years. The oldest pending Bill, The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987, has been pending for over 32 years.
“In order to streamline the process, I suggest that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction, such pending Bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed. Let us have a wider debate in this regard as well,” he said.
Continuing the thread he began during a luncheon meeting Thursday with floor leaders, Naidu expressed grave concern on poor productivity of the Upper House. He urged members to rise to the responsibility towards the people and legislate rather than disrupt.
“The present dysfunctional, disruptive environment must change. We must use the time available for Parliamentary debates most productively. In fact, we may actually require more time given the ever widening range of public issues emerging everyday. However, our foremost task is to use the existing time in a fruitful manner,” he said.
AMONG LAPSED BILLS
* Land Acquisition Bills passed by Lok Sabha in 2015
* Factories (Amendment) Bill passed in 2016
* Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017
* Consumer Protection Bill, 2018
* Arbitration and Conciliation Bill, 2018
* Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019
* Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019
* Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019
* Triple Talaq Bills of 2017 and 2018
* Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018
* The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019
AMONG BILLS PENDING
* The Constitution (79th Amendment) Bill, 1992
* Provision of Municipalities (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Amendment Bill, 2001
* Seeds Bill, 2004; Pesticides Management Bill, 2011
* Mines (Amendment) Bill, 2011
* Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Amendment) Bill, 2011
* Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012
* Building and Other Construction Workers Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013
* Wakf Properties (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Bill, 2014