‘Deal’ in RS as past comes to haunt BJP
Little did the Bharatiya Janata Party realise that an understanding it struck with the Chair in the Rajya Sabha while in opposition would eventually result in non-passage of Bills now.
The practice adopted by the House was not to pass legislation amid din after then opposition objected to efforts in this direction during the UPA regime.
Sources in Parliament said with the winter session entering the last three days, the Narendra Modi government was keen to end it securing parliamentary nodfor some of the less controversial Bills and sought a way out of the logjam that resulted in near-total washout.
The parliamentary managers were politely informed that the agreement remains in place, sources said, adding that the unwritten pact arrived at during the UPA-regime makes it clear that Bills will be passed only when there is order in the House.
In fact, after Prime Minister Modi met Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari last Thursday, an all-party meeting was called the following day where it was agreed that Bills, including the one to amend the SC/ST Act, Anti-Hijacking and Atomic Energy Amendment Bill, could be passed, the two Appropriations Bills be considered and returned and two others, amending the Juvenile Justice Act and Whistleblowers Protection Act will be referred to a select committee.
Two others Bills to replace ordinances — setting up Commercial Courts and Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bills, as passed by the Lok Sabha, too would be considered for passage.
Last week, the Congress that enjoys numerical superiority in the 245-member House made it clear that the socially responsible Bill to amend the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Act has the party support the government cannot seek its passage in the din.
However, there is a move afoot by a section of the opposition to force the government rethink on the commercial courts. Last week while the Bill was discussed in the Lok Sabha, NK Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) from Kerala made a forceful argument against the measure. His meaningful contribution received praise from Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu for the diligent work in dissecting the Bill.
Premachandran, who belongs to the opposition whose strength is in two digits, questioned the move of the government to bring the Ordinance when the Bill was being scrutinised by a parliamentary panel. He charged that the government was pushing the legislation that favoured the industry and the haves at the expense of the have-nots. He also questioned the powers the executive wants by identifying some areas that constitute commercial disputes and the rest to be defined by the government from time-to-time. Now that the political parties agreed to take up Bills for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha this week, debate on these points is likely to be held.