Abrupt end to a stormy Parliament session: Lok Sabha passed 20 bills, Rajya Sabha 19; Opposition corners Centre over Pegasus, farm laws

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August 12, 2021 3:37 PM

The Monsoon Session had commenced on July 19 and was scheduled to go till August 13.

The bills that were passed during the monsoon session included the Constitutional Amendment Bill on OBC reservation which was passed by both houses with support from the opposition.

The Modi government’s attempts to ensure smooth functioning of the Parliament went for a toss as the Opposition cashed in on the controversy over allegations of snooping through the Pegasus spyware and the anger over farm laws saw a washed out Monsoon Session. Unruly scenes were witnessed in the House and both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw repeated adjournments. However, as the opposition claimed, the government ‘bulldozed’ 20 bills through the Lok Sabha and 19 bills through the Rajya Sabha amid the din. The average discussion time for the bills was around 7 minutes which led to the TMC MP Derek O’Brien quipping whether the government is passing legislation or making ‘papri chat’.

The bills that were passed during the monsoon session included the Constitutional Amendment Bill on OBC reservation which was passed by both houses with support from the opposition. No votes were cast against the bill in any house. Before we go deeper into the details, let’s take a look at all the bills which made it through Parliament:

1. The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 10 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 11.
2. The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 10 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 11.
3. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 10 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 11.
4. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 6 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 9.
5. The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 6 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 9.
6. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 9 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 5.
7. The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 3 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 9.
8. The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 4 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 5.
9. The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 9 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 4.
10. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 9 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 4.
11. The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 2 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 11.
12. The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 4 and in the Rajya Sabha on July 30.
13. The Appropriation (No.4) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 28.
14. The Appropriation (No.3) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 28.
15. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill,2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 28 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 3.
16. The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 29 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 2.
17. The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 3 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 5.
18. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 29 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 5.
19. The National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 15 March, got clearance from Lok Sabha on July 26.
20. The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 26 and in the Rajya Sabha on July 29.
21. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on July 28. The bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha on March 24.
22. The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on July 27. The bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha on March 22.

In Lok Sabha, 17 sittings were held during and 20 bills including Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill & Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill were passed. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that a sincere effort was made by the government to ensure meaningful discussions. The Lok Sabha functioned only 21 hours against the stipulated 96 hours during the Monsoon session and its productivity was at 22 per cent. The Lok Sabha lost 74 hours 46 minutes to disruptions. On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha functioned 28 of the stipulated 98 hours and recorded 28 per cent productivity.

Most of these bills were passed either without discussion or through minimal discussion. Of the crucial sessions, 76 hours were lost due to chaos as the Opposition continued demanding a debate on the Pegasus issue. In fact, O’Brien’s ‘Papari Chat’ remark did not augur well with PM Narendra Modi who termed it as an insult. The BJP was quick to remind the TMC that it was the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Shantanu Sen who was suspended for flinging papers towards the chair.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the government refuses to discuss key issues. “Govt refuses to discuss key issues raised by the Opposition. They refuse to adhere to business in Parliament by getting important bills on the sly. Mocking parliament procedures has become a habit for the BJP government,” he said.

On the last day yesterday, the opposition claimed that women MPs were manhandled by marshals and the chair’s silence on the issue speaks volumes. “While VP M Venkaiah Naidu ji speaks of sacrilege in Rajya Sabha, his silence on how Marshals manhandled women MPs speaks volumes on the duplicitous manner in which the House is run. Is this how the temple of democracy runs in New India?” asked the LoP.

Notably, some Rajya Sabha MPs had created ruckus inside the house as they had climbed atop the tables while sloganeering and threw files towards the chair on August 10. Speaking about the incident, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had become emotional terming the incident sacrilege in the ‘temple of democracy’.

The Monsoon Session had commenced on July 19 and was scheduled to go till August 13. However, it was adjourned sine die two days before the schedule. The Question Hour witnessed disruptions on most of the days.

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