The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, without any discussion and amid protests by Opposition MPs on being denied a debate on the Bill.
On the first day of the Winter Session, as expected, the government listed the Bill for taking back three contentious farm laws – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – but it was not clear if any debate would be allowed before the repeal.
Opposition leaders had expressed apprehensions even before the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meetings of both Houses that the government would want to clear the Bill without any discussion. No consensus on a discussion was arrived at in the BAC meeting. In the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned till 12 noon after it convened due to ongoing protests by the Opposition on farm Bill related issues, the repeal Bill was taken up as soon as the House reconvened.
Opposition MPs from the DMK and the TMC were in the Well, demanding that discussion be allowed, when Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stood to introduce the Bill. Congress MPs were in their seats but they too raised the demand for a discussion.
Speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla said that unless the House was in order he would not allow a discussion.
“I will allow the discussion only when the House is in order,” he repeatedly said and asked Mr. Tomar to proceed first with introducing and then taking up the Bill for consideration and passing.
Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary intervened, stating that in the past six Acts had been repealed since 2014, and discussion had been allowed for the same and that this Bill too should come up for debate.
“The word here is consideration and passing, and we ask that the Bill be taken up for consideration by the House before passing,” he said.
Speaker Om Birla, however, said that no discussion could take place with MPs crowding the Well of the House.
“This is not the way one can debate Bills,” he observed.
The Bill was then passed by voice vote and the House was adjourned till 2 p.m.