Bills to panels: Venkaiah Naidu differs with Oppn’s data

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 29, 2019 Published on July 29, 2019

Venkaiah Naidu   -  PTI

Rejecting the Opposition’s charge that the government is not allowing Parliament scrutiny of Bills, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu said that during the the last five sessions that he has presided over, out of the 10 Bills that have been first introduced in the Rajya Sabha, eight have gone to Department Related Standing Committees.

“The other two Bills that were not so referred related to the inclusion of some more groups in the category of Scheduled tribes as they did not warrant a detailed scrutiny by standing committee,” Naidu said while responding to a letter written by leaders of 14 Opposition parties in the House.

He reminded the RS members in his observations to the letter that the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, scrutinised by the concerned Standing Committee and passed by the Lok Sabha, was again referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. “I hope that all of you would agree that such a record would not justify the allegation if it is so intended that the Rajya Sabha is a party to hurried legislation,” he added.

‘Dubious record’

He said he failed to understand the complaint against 30 long sittings of 17th Lok Sabha till the last week. “I fail to understand how the complainants can describe such longer sessions and passing of good number of Bills during that period as a ‘dubious record’ since Parliament’s core functions include legislation for socio-economic transformation of the country,” he said.

He said in the current session of the Rajya Sabha, four bills have so far been introduced first in the Rajya Sabha. “Of these, three Bills have been taken up for consideration and passed. These Bills could not be referred to Standing Committees because they are still to be constituted. As I said earlier, it is for the House to decide whether a Bill is to be referred to the a Select Committee, not mine,” Naidu said.

Supporting one argument in the complaint that short-duration Discussions are not allowed each week, he said he had asked the Rajya Sabha secretariat to verify the facts regarding the convention of having one such discussion every week during the session.

“The publication ‘Rajya Sabha Statistical Information: 1952-2013’ has information about such Short Duration Discussions taken up year-wise for 36 years between 1978 and 2013.

“Trend of such discussions revealed contrary to what the complainants have asserted in their letter. For 16 of these 36 years, Rajya Sabha took up Short Duration Discussions in the range of only 1 to 5 per year. Only one such discussion was taken up in 1984. For another 14 years, such discussions were taken up in the range of 6 to 8 per year,” he added.

Published on July 29, 2019
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