The Winter session of Parliament has come to an end. After Lok Sabha, the Upper House too was adjourned sine die on Wednesday to reconvene in the Budget session next year. Though, several hours of business was lost due to the Opposition-led protest in Rajya Sabha, it passed few crucial bills, including the legislation to amend the Juvenile Justice Act.
Three bills — Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 — were passed on the last day in Rajya Sabha within minutes, while one was introduced.
The Modi government, however, bit the bullet as it was unable to even table the all-crucial Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill due to unrelenting protest by the Opposition, especially by the Congress party.
Calling the day for winter session, Rajya Sabha Chiarman Md. Hamid Ansari appealed the members to “introspect on this state of affairs (and) desist from approaches and practices that demean the stature of the Rajya Sabha”.
“The 237th Session of the Rajya Sabha, that last week seemed singularly unproductive in terms of legislative work, comes to an end this afternoon after having redeemed itself somewhat in the past three days,” the Chairman said in his valedictory remarks before the House was adjourned sine die.
Seemingly upset over the repeated adjournments throughout the session, he recalled that how on December 1, the Upper house had solemnly committed itself to the principles and ideals of the Constitution.
“A functioning legislature is an essential concomitant of these principles; disruptions amount to their negation. The record of this session belies this commitment in good measure,” he said.
The Session, which had 20 sittings witnessed protest on several issue including alleged controversial remarks made by MoS External Affairs VK Singh after the horrendous murder of Dalit toddlers in Haryana, former minister and Congress MP Kumari Selja’s remark about being asked her caste at a temple in Gujarat and the opposition to the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project.
But the protest intensified in the later part of the session over the issue of National Herald court case, series of atrocities on Dalits in Punjab, controversy involving the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and since last week over the DDCA controversy, where the Congress party refused to budge from its demand of Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s ouster.
Speaking further, the Chairman added that interruptions denied members the opportunity to seek accountability of the executive through questions, Zero Hour issues, discussions and debates on issues of public interest and concern
“This state of affairs is at times attributed by sections of opinion to lack of disciplinary control over the proceedings,” he said.
“Vehemence in language or behaviour resulting in obstruction of proceedings, apart from interruption and neglect of listed agenda also resulted in violation of privileges of individual Members themselves…. It reflects adversely on the parliamentary process and our commitment to it. There is an imperative need to dispel this impression,” Chairman Ansari strongly added.
In 20 sittings from November 26 till today, nine Bills, including the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, were passed. Whereas, two government Bills were withdrawn and one Bill introduced.