After approximately ten days of more or less uninterrupted proceedings, including legislative business, Rajya Sabha may run into rough weather from Monday. Floor coordination talks among opposition parties are on and sources said that while members’ time such as zero hour, short duration discussion and calling attention may be “selectively” transacted, legislative business may be a casualty.
On Monday, the listed legislative businesses are consideration and passing of The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and that of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018. Both are piloted by the HRD ministry.
Short duration discussions are usually taken up on Tuesdays and calling attention on Thursdays. Monday and Wednesday are for legislative business while Friday is for Private Members’ bills.
Rajya Sabha has since the beginning of the ongoing Monsoon Session passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill. It also took up discussion on the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill in the absence of Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari during which 16 members spoke.
The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018 too was introduced in the Upper House this session.
However, one day before the no-confidence-motion in Lok Sabha last week, contentious amendments to the RTI Act were not pushed through. Even though the Bill was a part of the day’s revised list of Business and copies of the Bill were circulated in preparation for its introduction, it was not taken up.
An opposition source said, “Government cannot push through legislative business without taking the opposition into confidence. The House is the forum to raise legitimate concerns of the nation and we will do so. However we are very clear that individual MPs should not lose out on their time. There are some 15-17 Zero Hour submissions that are listed which are important issues concerning the country that members want raised. However, the government cannot expect us to cooperate when it tries to bring flawed legislation such as the anti-trafficking Bill.” The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Trafficking of Persons ( Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill that has stringent imprisonment provisions for human trafficking.
Though Rajya Sabha did transact legislative business since Parliament’s Monsoon session started on July 18, the opposition managed to prevail on several Bills. The Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill was sent to the Select Committee and discussion on the Motor Vehicles Bill was halted midway after BJD and AIADMK, which are not part of the opposition block, joined them in raising objections on the ground that the Bill is violative of the federalism principle.