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Rajya Sabha nod to arbitration Bill amid Oppn protests

Amid the din, the House passed a Bill to amend the arbitration law.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 11, 2021 2:02:32 am
Union Minister Prasad in Rajya Sabha Wednesday. (PTI)

The functioning of Rajya Sabha was hit for the third consecutive day Wednesday with Opposition parties led by the Congress disrupting the House while demanding discussion on the farm laws and the farmers’ agitation. Amid the din, the House passed a Bill to amend the arbitration law.

Opposition members cutting across party lines had given separate notices demanding suspension of all business to discuss the farmers’ issue and the fuel price hike. Disallowing the notices, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the “House, in the first part of the Session itself, has discussed the farmers’ issue and their agitation”.

“…It has been decided in the BAC Meeting that we will be discussing the issues relating to farmers. Also, 12 hours have been given for Appropriation Bills and the Finance Bill, 2021, where you can raise all these issues,” he said. “Do you want discussion or disruption,” Naidu asked.

The Opposition, however, insisted on a separate discussion, triggering commotion and adjournment during the morning session. Protests continued when the House reassembled at 2 pm but the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 — to replace an Ordinance issued in November —was passed.

Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge asked how another matter could be taken up when members are raising an issue. Amid the protests, Deputy Chairman Harivansh took up the Bill.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the passage of the Bill was important since it will ensure that taxpayers’ money does not go as an award in arbitration cases where the agreement is “induced by fraud or corruption”. “Why are they so affected when we discuss corruption?… We are pained to see that the Opposition is working against a Bill that is in the national interest,” Prasad said. The Bill was passed by a voice vote after which the House was adjourned.

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