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In Rajya Sabha, Opposition seeks to move key Bills to standing committees

Derek O’ Brien. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Derek O’ Brien. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar  

In Rajya Sabha, the parties are seeking to move key Bills to standing committees for a hard look

The Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha are seeking to move key Bills, including the NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019, the DNA (Use and Application) regulation Bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 for further parliamentary scrutiny under standing committees.

 

According to sources, the members of the business advisory committee at a meeting on Monday told the government that these Bills were critical and would have a far-reaching impact. “These legislations need to be examined at length and clearing it without a standing committee scrutiny cannot be condoned,” a top Opposition leader said. The government remained non-committal about the move.

The NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Monday, while the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2019 has been introduced in the House. The NIA Bill seeks to give greater powers to the National Investigation Agency by expanding its jurisdiction to offences committed outside the country. The latest amendments will enable the NIA to additionally investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

 

The UAPA Bill is aimed at strengthening India’s security framework. It seeks “to introduce fourth schedule to add or remove the name of individual terrorists”.

The DNA Bill seeks to regulate the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule. These include criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs. This Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 8.

The Opposition has been complaining that the government, in its last tenure and now, has been trying to bypass the standing committee system. According to statistics given by Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’ Brien, the system was adopted in 1993. From 1993 till 2003, 70 percent of legislations went to committees. But in the last two years, the frequency has reduced. Only 26 percent of the bills were referred to standing committees.

Opposition strength

As per the current seat arithmetic in the Upper House, the Opposition, led by the Congress’s 48 members, has 107 seats and the BJP, along with its allies, is a little ahead with 115 members. There are 13 members from neutral parties like the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the YSR Congress.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 7:34:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-rajya-sabha-opposition-seeks-to-move-key-bills-to-standing-committees/article28449593.ece

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