The end of the term of the 16th Lok Sabha would drastically reduce the legislative pendency of the Rajya Sabha. Of the 55 Bills that were pending in the Upper House due to limited productivity in the last five years, 22 have lapsed because they were transmitted from the Lower House.
Among the 22 are contentious Bills such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2018, the Aadhaar and other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the land acquisition Bill, formally known as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill.
The Bills are dead because they were introduced in and passed by the Lok Sabha before they came to the Upper House. According to the Rajya Sabha’s procedure, “A Bill pending in Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by Lok Sabha does not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha but a Bill which is passed by Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.”
The 16th Lok Sabha will be officially dissolved when the five-year term is over, or if the President issues an order for dissolution before that. The five-year term will be over in May.
Included in the 33 Bills that continue to remain pending with the Upper House are the Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill, 2013, in which a board of governors will take over the functioning of the Medical Council of India for regulation of medical education, the Assam Legislative Council Bill, 2013, the National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine Bill, 2019, the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indians Bill, 2019 that was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in the last days of the recently-concluded Budget Session.
The 33 Bills are “alive” because they were introduced in the Rajya Sabha which is a permanent House and are now a property of the House that never dissolves. One-third of the members of the Upper House retire every two years — a member’s term is for 6 years. However, Rajya Sabha itself is never dissolved. That is why while there is a 16th Lok Sabha that will make way for a 17th Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha’s life is counted in the number of sessions. The Budget Session was the 248th Session of the Upper House.
Among Bills that have lapsed are also The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, which provides for the erection of a memorial in memory of the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019, and the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018.