Parties to discuss future strategy today
The Opposition parties will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss the lack of parliamentary scrutiny before clearing many critical Bills.
They will also discuss the strategy for the last days of the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha.
“Not all Bills need to be sent, but there are definitely a few that need further scrutiny which has not happened in this session,” Congress Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said. The standing committees were yet to be constituted. The Opposition, however, argued that even in the absence of the committees, select committees could be formed. “Democracy and parliamentary procedures are being murdered. Eleven Bills have so far been passed by the Rajya Sabha and none of them has gone through any scrutiny by standing committees or select committees,” Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said. “Time for talks are over. It is time to put our thoughts on paper,” he said. Sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said the Opposition parties were to be blame for the delay in the formation of the standing committees. There are 24 department-related committees. Despite several reminders, the BJP and the Congress are yet to send the list of their nominees.
The Rajya Sabha Chairman has also refused to admit the Opposition notice to hold a short-duration discussion on press freedom on the government’s recommendation, sources said. “We were told that the government feels that there has been no change in the state of media so there is no need for a discussion on the same,” an Opposition leader said. “We are fast losing confidence on the way both the Houses are being presided over,” a senior Opposition leader said.
A few parties are of the opinion that a joint letter should be sent to the Chairman and the Speaker on the issue.
Giving an example of how parliamentary propriety is being done away with, the leader said the Human Rights (Amendment) Bill that was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Friday was listed for passing in the Rajya Sabha on Monday without giving the Opposition enough time to study and move amendments. A lot of business of the Houses is conducted in din without paying heed to the Opposition’s protests. There has been speculation that the Parliament session could be extended due to heavy legislative business. In the business advisory committee meeting held for the Rajya Sabha, the government, according to the sources, did not give any indication about this.