Opposition stalls Copyright Bill in Rajya Sabha

The parties claimed there was a conflict of interest

December 13, 2011 08:53 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 01:31 am IST - New Delhi

The Opposition on Tuesday prevented Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal from moving the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, in the Rajya Sabha, claiming it had a “conflict of interest”.

As the Opposition members continued to press their “point of order”, quoting rules to prevent the Minister from tabling the Bill, the House was adjourned twice during the day.

Even before the Minister could move the Bill, Janata Dal (United) leader Shivanand Tiwari and M.V. Mysura Reddy of the Telugu Desam Party were on their feet to raise a point of order under Rule 294. They said Mr. Sibal could not introduce the Bill as his lawyer son represented Super Cassette Industries, a market leader in the music industry.

“According to Rule 294 of Parliament's Ethics Committee, a member having direct or indirect interest in a matter cannot move a Bill unless he declares... He has conflict of interest,” Mr. Tiwari said. He was supported by Bharatiya Janata Party members S.S. Ahluwalia, Prakash Javadekar and V. Maitreyan of the AIADMK.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal intervened to say that the Opposition members being unfair. “Mr Sibal's son is an independent lawyer and can represent anybody. This is rather un-parliamentary.”

Despite Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan's repeated pleas, Opposition members continued to raise objections, leading to the adjournment of the House for 10 minutes.

Even after the House reassembled, Mr. Khan adjourned it for the day when the protesting members did not relent.

Mr. Khan said the members had begun to protest even before the Minister had moved the Bill.

The Bill seeks to amend the Copyright Act, 1957, to fine-tune it with relevant international treaties and to introduce a system of statutory licensing to protect the owners of literary or musical works.

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