On Wednesday, August 11th, the stormy Monsoon Session of Parliament came to an abrupt end when both Houses were adjourned sine die, two days ahead of schedule. According to data from PRS Legislative Research, the current Lok Sabha session, which began on July 19, was the third least productive in the recent two decades.
How productive was Parliament during the Monsoon Session, despite frequent disruptions and raging squabbles? What legislation has been introduced? What was the total number of bills that were signed into law? Several adjournments marked the Monsoon Session of Parliament in 2021. The opposition had made it clear from day one that they were in no mood to let the houses run and government function if their demands regarding debates on the three farm bills and Pegasus were not considered. The government on the other hand had other plans. It wanted the legislation to work so that the pending and the fresh bills could be cleared from both the houses.
Source – The Financial express
The Monsoon Session saw the passage of twenty bills (fifteen freshly introduced bills). During this session, all fifteen bills introduced were passed.The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021,The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021,The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Amendment Bill, 2021, The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021,The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill,2021,The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 and The Essential Defense Services Bill, 2021, were all passed by both the houses.
None of the bills submitted this session were referred to a Parliamentary Committee for consideration. According to PRS, nearly 15 bills were passed without any house member participating in the deliberation. PRS recorded an average discussion time of 34 minutes per bill.The average length of time spent in the Rajya Sabha debating a Bill was 46 minutes.According to a PRS study, the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, was debated for the longest time — nearly an hour in each House.
Twelve Bills were rushed through Parliament by voice vote in the first ten days, with an average of seven minutes of debate, prompting the Opposition to protest about the Centre’s ‘bulldozing’ of Bills.The Monsoon Session had generated 320 starred questions. According to a Times of India report, 66 of these were responded verbally, accounting for 20% of the total.According to PRS, the Question Hour was in a session for 25% of the Rajya Sabha’s permitted time and 35% of the Lok Sabha’s planned time.
Source – Hindustan Times
The Parliament had a very low level of production this season, owing to the Opposition’s insistence on discussing the Pegasus snooping case and farm rules, and the Centre’s steadfast refusal to participate in the debate. For 19 days, the Lok Sabha was supposed to be in session for six hours a day. The Lower House, on the other hand, was only in session for 21 hours, or around 22% of the time permitted, according to PRS. This was mostly due to opposition parties’ outrage over the Pegasus espionage affair. The job could not be finished for a total of 74 hours and 46 minutes out of the 96 hours scheduled for the session.
Since the 2016 Winter Session, the Lok Sabha has put in the fewest number of hours. In contrast, the Rajya Sabha was scheduled to meet for 112 hours over 19 days. The Rajya Sabha worked a total of 25 hours this session, according to PRS, although appearing for only 28% of the scheduled hours. “I’m sorry that things didn’t go as planned in the house. Only 21 hours and 14 minutes were spent at the house. Work couldn’t be done for 74 hours and 46 minutes out of the quorum of 96 working hours. A total of 22% of the workforce was productive “According to the news agency ANI, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told reporters on Wednesday.
Source – Indian Express
This was not the first time that such a raucous took place inside the Indian parliament. Last year during the last session of the parliament, eight Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended by the chairman for unruly conduct inside the house. The AAP party MP Sanjay Singh had even tried to attack the chair in due process. Hence, nothing new was done by the opposition this time. Having nothing to show as their achievement, the only way for them to target the government was by putting up false allegations.
While on-screen the opposition tried to portray themselves as white-collar people, behind the camera in the parliament they were busy sabotaging the taxpayer’s money. Some good opposition leaders like Manoj Jha, Shashi Tharoor, Derek O’ Brian, and others suffered a lot due to other opposition MPs. Asking question from the government is the basic right of opposition but not letting the parliament function is just not acceptable.
The government must realize that the opposition’s function in a democracy is more than symbolic. The opposition serves as a watchdog to ensure that the government is held accountable and that the constitution is upheld. It aids in the improvement of legislation and also expresses the views of people who would otherwise be ignored by the government. During the monsoon session of 2021, the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were both 28 percent and 22 percent productive.
The government’s notion of a “productive” session appears to be rushing bills into law and avoiding to debate critical issues, followed by accusations that the opposition is “disrupting” proceedings. Its dishonesty in this regard is astounding. After all, the BJP was the first party to advocate disruption as a “legitimate” parliamentary approach. Parliamentarians represent their citizens’ needs and desires. Several members, from both parties, expressed an interest in discussing the three farm laws. They were denied the chance.
Several members wanted to talk about the Pegasus scandal, in which the government is accused of using military-grade software against people, prominent opposition leaders, judges, journalists, and lawyers. This appears to be illegal and criminal in nature.The supreme court of India, although gave a sort of clean chit to the government by asking the petitioners that where were their lawyers for the past two years, when the Pegasus allegedly started spying.
The opposition leaders made a mountain out of a molehill. Not only did they caused raucous in the parliament but also attacked the women MPs and marshals. In a country where women are worshiped in temples, in such a country as these women MPs and marshals were attacked inside the temple of democracy. Shame fall upon thee, for not condemning and criticizing such acts.No blame game must be played in such instances. The government blaming the opposition and vice versa. The parliament runs on the money of taxpayers, the taxpayers have watched the behavior of both the government as well as the opposition.
These acts only dent the images of both. The Modi government has a special attribute of convincing people that they are right but the opposition lacks it and in such a time when we looking towards having a strong watchdog, this impression of the opposition will definitely cost them much.
Written by- Kirti Kashyap ‘Taijas’
Edited by- Ginia Chatterjee