The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 — there were 108 votes for the passage of the Bill and 13 against it. The Bill was passed even as Deputy Chairman Harivansh overruled protests by opposition MPs against running the House beyond the stipulated deadline of 6 pm.
The Bill will, however, have to go back to Lok Sabha as Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari proposed one amendment at the instance of the AIADMK and also admitted that the Bill passed in Lower House had a printing error. In his opening statement and later while replying to the discussion, Gadkari tried to allay apprehensions that the Bill will take away rights of the states and bring in the private sector in various aspects, including registration of new vehicles and running driving schools.
“I want to make it clear at the very outset that we are not privatising or tinkering with the rights of the states. This is only to regularise the process of licences and make roads safer. Every year, 1.5 lakh people die on our roads…The Bill also has provision for a good samaritan so that a person who takes an accident victim to hospital is not troubled…it also deals with taxi aggregators,” he said.
The AIADMK wanted the provision of consultation with states to be changed to “concurrence” and the minister agreed to make the change.
However, the highlight of the discussion was speeches by Opposition leaders about the House running beyond 6 pm. Congress deputy leader in the House Anand Sharma said, “This is not a factory for producing Bills…we are not opposing the Bill. but it is not possible for everybody to sit from 9 am to 9 pm…this cannot happen every day.”
Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien and CPM’s T K Rangarajan supported his statement but Deputy Chairman Harivansh remained unwavering in his decision that the sense of the House is for the Bill to pass.
Meanwhile, with passage of the Triple Talaq Bill, Parliament has passed all the 10 Bills listed for this session to replace ordinances. These include ordinances on the homeopathy central council, Aadhaar, the Indian Medical Council and the Jammu & Kashmir teachers’ quota.
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