Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu suggested that bills that are not taken up for consideration and passage within five years of the introduction in the Rajya Sabha should automatically be treated as lapsed.
Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over forced disruptions in the Upper House and called for a wider debate about rules pertaining to lapsed bills. According to a report in The Indian Express, Naidu said that a bill that is cleared by the Lok Sabha but couldn’t sail through the Rajya Sabha is only wastage of the Lower House’s time.
The Chairman told the Rajya Sabha members on Friday that there should be a debate on a Constitutional provision that provides for automatic lapsing of any bill passed by Lok Sabha but remains pending in Rajya Sabha on the dissolution of the Lower House. He said that a rethink in this direction will not let Lok Sabha’s time go waste.
Naidu suggested that bills that are not taken up for consideration and passage within five years of the introduction in the Rajya Sabha should automatically be treated as lapsed. Naidu said this while pointing out that 22 bills lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha and as per the rule, the Lok Sabha needs to follow the entire process afresh to clear these bills.
The Chairman said that it takes considerable time and energy to get a Bill passed in either House of Parliament. He said that tabling the 22 bills again in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing will take a minimum of two sessions. This, he said, means that the efforts of Lok Sabha for passing these 22 Bills have been rendered waste.
Asking MPs to change their approach and improve the quality of debates and make decision making a little quicker than now, he said, “The Bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse with the dissolution of the House of the People. They have to be reintroduced in the Lok Sabha and the entire process has to be gone through afresh. This means a lot of delays. Can we make any change in this regard? The Houses of Parliament seems to lose a lot of time in the disruptive expression of adversarial positions.”
“Quite a few bills are pending in Rajya Sabha for decades without required consideration. Should we continue them or treat them as lapsed?” he asked the members.
Naidu noted that among the 33 Bills that are pending in the Rajya Sabha after the Lok Sabha term expires are some that have been pending for decades. He said that three bills are pending for more than two decades, six for 10-20 years, 14 for 5-10 years and 10 for less than 5 years. The oldest pending bill, he said, is The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987. The bill which is aimed at improving the functioning of Medical Council of India is pending in the Upper House for over 32 years.
He suggested that if a bill is not taken up debate in the Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction, it should be treated as lapsed automatically.
“In order to streamline the process, I suggest that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction, such pending Bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed. Let us have a wider debate in this regard as well,” he said.
Since Rajya Sabha is a permanent House, bills introduced in the Upper House don’t lapse and remain pending there. According to Article 107 of the Constitution “a Bill which is pending in the House of the People, or which having been passed by the House of the People is pending in the Council of States, shall subject to the provisions of Article 108, lapse on a dissolution of the House of the People”.
Bills that lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha include The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Triple Talaq Bills of 2017 and 2018, The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.