After remaining paralysed for most of last week and this week, the Rajya Sabha could transact some legislative business next week. The Congress could allow passage of four bills, including the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, sources said.
The Lok Sabha, meanwhile, passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2015 amid the noise the Opposition kept up Thursday. The bill aims to improve the “ease of doing business” and provide speedy disposal of arbitration cases.
The government plans to bring two appropriation bills and couple of minor bills in the Rajya Sabha next next week.
Sources said the Congress would let the appropriation bills pass as also the SC/ST bill with a discussion.
The business advisory committee, which allots time for legislative and other business, met Thursday and allocated time for both appropriation bills, the Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill and the National Waterways Bill. The Congress cannot afford to block the SC/ST prevention of atrocities bill while Opposition parties do not generally prevent passage of appropriation bills.
In the Lok Sabha, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda moved the arbitration bill for passage and said, “The bill will give a new dimension to the legal system in the country… and make India a centre of international commercial arbitration.”
The bill was approved by a voice vote after the House rejected certain amendments moved by N K Premachandran (RSP) and Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress). An official amendment was accepted, however; this envisages that the new law would not apply to the ongoing cases unless both parties agreed.
The amendment bill, Gowda said, seeks to reduce the cost of litigation, improve India’s ranking in “ease of doing business” index of the World Bank and promote the “Make in India” campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the applicability of the provisions, he said it can take retrospective effect “if the parties agree”. Otherwise, it would have prospective effect.
He said the changes in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, which were introduced after extensive consultation, will make arbitration “user friendly” in addition to reducing its cost.
The bill, which will replace an ordinance promulgated in October, is aimed at speedy settlement of high value business disputes through arbitration.