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Scrutiny of Bills: Opposition says govt didn’t keep word, minister says never agreed

Raising the issue after Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had approached them and asked which Bills they wanted to be sent to select committees.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 1, 2019 1:08:07 am
Parliament Monsoon Session, Monsoon Session, Parliament news, Congress protest Parliament, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rajya sabha, Lok sabha, Indian express Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, BJP’s Rakesh Sinha and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar at Parliament House Wednesday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

Opposition parties led by the Congress on Wednesday accused the government of not keeping its word on sending some Bills, including the Triple Talaq Bill, to the select committee for scrutiny.

Raising the issue after Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had approached them and asked which Bills they wanted to be sent to select committees. Leaders of all parties wanted that at least six Bills to be sent to committees for scrutiny, he said. “I am drawing the attention of the Chair…we wanted that RTI Bill to be sent to the select committee,” he said.

Referring to the passage of the Triple Talaq Bill on Tuesday, Azad said, “You are master, you tell your people to be present and we remain under the illusion that this Bill is going to the select committee. This is not done. This is unfair on the part of the government.”

He said the government had approached the Opposition through the Parliamentary Affairs Minister. “We gave them a list of some 23 Bills and we wanted at least half of them to be sent to select committees. We identified as many as six bills as A-category to be sent to select committees, and two under B-category and the list was taken by the government.”

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“My submission is that out of the six bills which we had given on priority to be sent to the select committee was the Bill which was discussed on Tuesday and passed. We were in the dark we could not inform our Members of Parliament. The second Bill, which is being considered today for passage, is also on the priority list,” he said.

“My submission to the government is that on one side, you are seeking the list from the opposition for Bills to be sent to the select committee and you don’t come back and you put them for passage in the House and get them passed,” Azad added.

He was backed by TMC’s Derek O’Brien. Referring to the listing of Triple Talaq Bill, he said, “Monday night at 9.30 pm, taking everyone by surprise…there is a rule and there is an understanding, there is a convention… So, we find solutions and we don’t do anything clandestine midnight to catch people by surprise,” he said. O’Brien said sending the Triple Talaq Bill and UAPA Bill to select committees was top priority for the Opposition.

“One got listed on Monday night and the second one was listed today. We seek your protection. Out of the 23 Bills, even though we are not going to go back to what has been passed the last time, the Opposition together had a list of six bills, four of which were marked as A-plus… We want to examine these Bills. If the government has the numbers, it can pass the Bills. But, let us fight for the integrity of Parliament. That is what we are asking for,” he said.

The issue was also raised by Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.

“Government has broken our trust. Our understanding was that the government would agree to send this Bill to the select committee. But they got it listed very late in the night. None of our MPs had abstained willfully….We do ask our MPs to be present. But if we had received the information, there would have been specific whip by parties that this particular Bill is being taken up. It was listed late in the night. This was to pre-empt a situation wherein the Opposition could bring in all its MPs,” he said.

“I have heard it. I will look into it….You have raised the issue, then I will examine it,” Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said.

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