Rajya Sabha passes eight bills amidst Opposition boycott

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Abel Kurian Punnoose

28th September 2020

Indian Express reported that the Rajya Sabha was adjourned ‘sine die’ on 23rd September 2020, with the Parliamentary sessions recording an effective rate of hundred per cent, despite it being a short monsoon session with just ten sittings.

The Rajya Sabha during the session held on 23 September 2020 (Source: www.thefinancialexpress.com)

While giving a brief account of the session, the Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, highlighted that there were twenty-five bills passed and six bills introduced. As a result, the overall productivity of the last four sessions came to a praiseworthy 96.13 per cent, which itself is the best during the past five years — the Chairman mentioned.

The session was supposed to end on 1st October 2020 but had to be cut short — owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the first day of the opposition boycott, the Rajya Sabha had passed seven bills during the absence of the opposition members of the House. Three bills namely — the Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill of 2020, The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contract Bill of 2020, and the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill of 2020 were passed under four hours. Additionally, the House passed three labour codes and two appropriation bills during the session.

The opposition had written a letter to the Chairman requesting him not to pass the labour codes as there was an absence of opposition in the House. The Hindu reported that Naidu believed if the House did not take up the legislative business during the boycott, it might legitimise the boycott as a means of blocking the actions of the legislation.

As reported by The Hindu, the Chairman, lamented the recent developments in the Parliament over the past few days. “I am naturally more pained to see bills being passed in the din as the Chairman of this August House. It hurts me the most when the chair is rendered helpless by the turn of events and has to force action against the members as per the rules,” he said.

Farmers across India were upset with the passing of the three farm bills as they were corporate-friendly and anti-farmer in nature. If the Parliament implemented these bills as a law, it would lead to the facilitation of an unhealthy corporate system which is prevalent in countries such as the United States of America, which will be devastating to the farmers.

After the occurrence at Rajya Sabha, farmers and supporters took to the streets in various cities across India. In Punjab, the Farmers’ Associations stopped several railroads on 25th September 2020. Many people picketed silently outside the DC's office in Udupi, Karnataka. Naidu also negated the remarks of the Leader of Opposition (LoP), Ghulam Nabi Azad, highlighting that he always reached out to the LoP for his inputs before concluding any issue concerning the functioning of the House.

(Sources: The Economic Times, The Hindu, Indian Express) Edited by Meghna Venkatesh

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