The Congress and the DMK today demanded in the Rajya Sabha that a bill aimed at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector be referred to a Select Committee of the House for proper scrutiny. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017, passed by the Lok Sabha last year, was listed in the legislative business for the Upper House during post-lunch session. However, it could not be taken up in the absence of Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. The bill aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector like heavier fines for traffic rules violation, improve licensing system, protect the good samaritans and check bogus vehicle theft cases.
Congress and DMK members insisted that the government should move a motion to refer the bill to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. However, Deputy chairman P J Kurien said it could not be done in the absence of the minister concerned. Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “Not being taken up (the bill) today does not settle the matter.” The issue was discussed in the Business Advisory Committee last week, he said, adding many parties had raised concerns and reservation that the Standing Committee’s suggestions were not accepted fully.
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The Opposition had made it clear that it needs to be examined by a Select Committee, he said.
“A decision should be taken by the House. It should not be kept in animated suspension. We need a ruling on this.” To which, Kurien said: “For moving a motion like that, the concerned minister should come and move the bill first. Then only a motion can be moved,” he said. He also said that even Parliamentary Affairs Minister cannot do on behalf of an absentee minister.
Sharma said he does not want surprises and get “stumped” by the government as had happened in earlier occasion. “We don’t want that situation again.” Thiruchi Siva (DMK) also demanded that the bill be referred to a Select Panel. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi assured the Opposition members that their concerns will be conveyed to the minister concerned.