Government running Parliament to its ‘whims and fancies’: Opposition

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Business Line, August 01, 2019

Opposition parties on Thursday accused the government of running Parliament to its ‘whims and fancies’ and circumventing structured and informed discussions on proposed legislations and other businesses of the House.

Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told the Speaker that the government has made it a matter of routine to introduce bills without any prior information or consultation with the Opposition as is the practice.

“How do I prepare MPs for discussion on bills when they introduce them without informing us? They’re introducing new bills one after the other without prior consultation.

“Every day at 10 pm we get to know that a new bill is being introduced. We should be given at least 48 hours notice in order to prepare for the discussion on complex issues and legislations,” said Chowdhury.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal objected, contending that only those bills which have been discussed in the weekly Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting are being brought for discussion.

However, Sougata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, raising a point of order, said the BAC has nothing to do with the practice that is being adopted to revise the business of the day at the last minute.

“In yesterday’s List of Business, three Bills were listed for discussion — Inter-state River Water Dispute (Amendment) Bill, the Dam Safety Bill. So, the members prepared for the discussion on the Dam Safety Bill.

“However, this morning we found that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill has been listed in today’s List of Business. The Bill on POCSO and The Arbitration and Conciliation Bill have also been included,” said Roy.

“Parliament cannot function at the whims and fancies. Neither the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, nor his Minister of State nor the Secretary General can change the functioning of Parliament at will,” Roy said.

DMK pitches in

Kanimozhi of the DMK said the House decorum and rules are being ignored by the government.

“Generally, the practice is that if the Bill is not taken up on the given day, it will be taken up the next day. But suddenly, a new practice has come up that till 9.00, 10.00 or 11.00 O’clock, we have to wait for the Revised List of Business and completely new Bills are being brought in.

“Every day, this is becoming the practice. There is a decorum to be followed in this House… We are cooperating with you but you cannot take us for granted,” she said.

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