The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar number, passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday amidst continued protests from Opposition members, has been passed in the Rajya Sabha too on Tuesday after Opposition members staged a walkout.
The Bill allows electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, however, clarified that linking of Aadhar to Electoral Photo Identity Card is voluntary.
It also seeks to allow the officers to ask for the number from “persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in electoral roll, and to identify registration of name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency”.
On Tuesday, both the Houses started with continued protests from Opposition members. Lok Sabha, before being adjourned for the day, referred the Prohibition of Child Marriage Amendment Bill, 2021, to the Standing Committee, after it was introduced in the Lower House by Union Minister Smriti Irani.
Here are the latest updates :
Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day
The House will resume at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
MoS Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal moves a motion for the suspension of TMC MP Derek'O Brien. The motion goes to vote and in absence of the Opposition members, Mr. O Brien has been suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the rest of the Winter session.
Naminated BJP member Sonal Mansingh demands "more grant for 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'" while supporting the Appropriation Bill.
Shiv Pratab Shukla from the BJP speaks in support of the Appropriation Bill and hails "the work done by the Government since 2014".
"Opposition members should have stayed in the House," the BJP MP says. "Today they (Opposition members) crossed all lines, they threw the pious Rule Book," he says, adding, "it shows there uneasiness at the growing popularity of the Prime Minister."
The Rajya Sabha BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh also expresses confidence in the duo of U.P. CM Yogi Adityanath and PM Narendra Modi. The BJP MP says, "Uttar Pradesh is on the route to become Uttam Pradesh."
Speaking on the Appropriation Bill, BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe accuses the Opposition of "not allowing the democracy to function". "At a time when confidence in democracy needs to be increases, the Opposition members, with their actions, are proving that they are against this idea," the BJP MP alleges.
"The matters being discussed are in the interest of the nation, but the Opposition only wants to play politics," Mr. Sahasrabuddhe says. "We will not allow them to stumble upon democracy and that's why we remain present in this House," the BJP MP says.
Syed Zafar Islam from the BJP , supporting the Appropriation Bill, says, "increased expenditure is fine, but understanding where the Government is spending money is also important."
"Air India was totally mismanaged," the Rajya Sabha BJP MP says, adding that there were several "burdens on us (the Central Government) when we took charge".
BJP MP Arun Singh alleges that "the members of the Opposition parties are staging a walkout because they cannot talk on real issues and they don't have explanation for what they could provide to the public in six decades."
He supports the Appropriation Bill concluding, "this century will belong to Narendra Modi."
Arun Singh of the BJP says every poor person in this country stands with PM Modi. "All the BJP members have been doing a great job all over the country. Even in the Tripura elections, the Opposition parties spoke against the PM. But the BJP won, we are proud that citizens of this country trust the BJP."
"Nine crore poor people got gas connections. Women getting financial assistance, Jal Jeevan Mission beneficiaries are also being helped by PM Modi. When we share what these expenses are, the govt's efforts are clear. The GST collections are used in building houses for the poor. There hasn't been a single complaint of corruption of even ₹1/- against PM Modi."
Sushil Modi of the BJP says this Bill is also linked to price-rise. "Those who blame us for price-rise, I want to tell them that inflation is a global phenomenon in the post-pandemic era," the BJP MP says. Mr. Modi gives figures for inflation rates in different countries and says "it is within control in India".
"We're importing global inflation," the BJP MP says.
"With the new Air India package, the 'Maharaja' will become a bigger Maharaja. Number of train accidents has shown a decreasing trend. In the last 2 years, not even a single death has occurred due to rail accidents. That's the achievement of Modi's govt. We have conquered the pandemic as well."
YSRCP MP Ayodhya Rami Reddy supports the Appropriation Bill. He asks the Central Government to "help the State (Andhra Pradesh), so that we can complete the welfare projects by next year."
"Andhra Pradesh does not want to be treated as Uttar Pradesh, but at least treat us equally," the YSRCP MP says, highlighting "Centre has reduced funds for irrigation projects too."
"The people of Andhra suffer because of over-borrowing of previous Governments," the YSRCP MP says, adding, "when YSR was the CM, AP had an under-borrowing". "If you're punishing us for over-borrowing of previous governments, why are you not giving us benefits of the under-borrowing under YSR Government," he asks.
The Appropriation (No. 5) Bill, 2021 has been introduced in RS. Opposition members have already staged a walkout. AIADMK MPs support the Bill and ask the Government to "fulfill your promises".
Nominated BJP member Rakesh Sinha supports the Appropriation Bill. He says, "earlier welfare schemes were limited to announcements and papers. After 2022, PM Modi and the Government have made it their moral and constitutional duty to ensure welfare schemes reach villages."
Despite increasing global prices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the farmers and also announced subsidies on fertilizers, the BJP MP adds. "Our government works substantially, not symbolically," Mr. Sinha says giving data of subsidies on fertilizers.
BJP's Bhupendra Yadav raises the issue of an Opposition member flinging the rule book at Secretary General P.C Mody.
BJP MP Piyush Goyal continues to attack Opposition MPs. "The way Derek O Brien threw the rulebook at the Secretary General's table, it is not just an insult of the Parliament, but is an insult to the country," Mr. Goyal says. He says "while BJP-ruled States have reduced VAT on petrol and diesel, seven States ruled by non-BJP parties have not yet announced a cut in VAT."
He says Maharshtra charges the highest VAT on petrol/diesel. "Even though the Central Government had to lose millions of rupees, we announced a cut in the VAT," he says, adding, "the non-BJP parties did not, and even if they did the cut was minimal, like in Chhatisgarh."
Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 passed in RS after Opposition walkout
V. Sivadasan (CPI-M) moves an amendment to send the Bill to Select Committee, Deputy Chairman says it is negative.
TMC MP Derek O Brien accuses the Chair of "doing the same thing you did on farmers bill". Opposition members stage a walkout.
Opposition members, many of them assembled in the Well of the House, move motion to send the bill to Select Committee.
Deputy Chairman asks the MPs to "go back to your seat, there is no tradition to seek division of votes while protesting in the well."
Leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge says, "you announce division, members will go back to their seats." "Let the country see, you do not want division," the Chair responds.
Another amendment moved by Opposition is negated.
Opposition to Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 baseless: Law Minister Rijiju
"Your opposition has no basis," the Law Minister tells members opposing the Bill to link Voter ID card with Aadhar database. "Election Commission and Union Government met on several occasions," Mr. Rijiju says, adding, "multiple entry was EC's concern and there was no mechanism to address this issue." "Election process can only be cleansed if the voters list is clean," he says.
"Only those who use bogus voters list, will oppose this Bill," the Law Minister accuses, adding, "this Bill will remove duplicate entry." "New and genuine voters will never forgive you," Mr. Rijiju tells Opposition members, who continue sloganeering in protest of suspension of 12 MPs.
On Opposition raising the Putthuswamy judgement, he clarifies, "the Supreme Court said there should be an existence of law, so we have brought this law. "SC said Aadhar should be used for identity and electoral database will be with EC, will not be in public domain," he adds.
"Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended to link Aadhar with electoral roll," the Law Minister says. "Country has understood how necessary this electoral reform Bill is. it is a revolutionary bill," he says.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju speaks in the Upper House now. He starts with thanking members who hape supported the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
"Any Indian above 18 years can get their name included in voters list. There was a lacunae if you don't register by January 1, then many were excluded. The youth will get four occasions in a year to register themselves with the EC," the Law Minister says.
JD(U) MP Ram Nath Thakur says "this bill should be passed".
BJD MP Sujeet Kumar too supports the Bill, but also raises "some concerns". "Section 23 of the Bill will allow linking of Voter card with Aadhar data base. There is a likelihood of misuse of this clause, we support the intent of the Government, but we're concerned that this might lead to disenfranchisement of voters," the BJD MP says, as Opposition members continue to raise slogans.
"If it is misused, it might lead to targeted political advertisement, can also compromise individual's privacy. No clarity if it will pass the judicial scrutiny," Mr. Kumar adds. "If the data is made available to one political party, should also be made available to other political parties," the BJD MP adds.
V. Sivadasan of CPI-M says, "to protect the right of the democracy, you should give voting rights to everybody, call the 12 (suspended) members."
Speaking on the Bill to link Voter ID cards with Aadhar, AIADMK MP A. Navaneethakrishnan says, "the bill prevents bogus voting, double entry of voters , I welcome this Bill, it is in the right direction."
SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav argues, "poor people who will not have Aadhar will be excluded, I oppose this bill. They are passing the bill on a day when 12 members have been suspended."
Congress MP Ami Yagnik also opposes the bill, saying, "it is a violation of the right of privacy granted by Constitution of India, will disenfranchise many voters, will be disadvantageous."
Irani asks Chair to refer Prohibition of Child Marriage Amendment Bill to Standing Committee
Smriti Irani, giving data, says that 20 lakh marriages of under age women have been prevented. Ms Irani said the voices that emerged make it clear that there should be equality for marriage. She asks the Chair to refer the bill to the Standing Committee. Arjun Ram Meghwal says that the Bills to amend the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959 and the Company Secretaries Act, 1980, should also be referred to Standing Committee.
Lok Sabha adjourned for the day.
Speaking on the Election (Amendment) Bill, Sushil Modi of BJP says, "Opposition members who were part of the standing committee that recommended linking voter i card with Aadhar had supported this."
"In Bengal, TMC won because of bogus voters list, if voter card is linked to Aadhar, then lakhs of bogus names will be deleted , they fear this. They are opposing this to save their vote bank," the BJP MP alleged.
'Consult stake holders before bringing the Bill'
Supriya Sule of NCP and K Kanimozhi (DMK) opposes the manner the bill has been introduced. Both of them argue for stake holder consultations and feedback from civil society.
"The Bill needs to be scrutinized, I condemn the way this Government brings all the Bills," Supriya Sule adds.
Responding, Smriti Irani says, "we are 75 years late in a democracy to give equal rights to enter into matrimony." "To say that rural women can't exercise their right is an insult to them," the Union Minister adds.
Prohibition of the Child Marriage Amendment Bill moved for introduction
Union minister Smriti Irani moves the Prohibition of the Child Marriage Amendment Bill for introduction. She says it's a step towards gender equality and empowerment.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposes and asks the bill to be sent to a standing committee, says stake holders have not been consulted.
Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress and AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi oppose the Bill. Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM says an 18-year-old can vote and elect a Prime Minister, have sexual relations under POCSO Act but can't marry. What message are we sending
E.T. Mohammed Basheer of Indian Union Muslim League, says it is an attack on personal law.
Opposition members continue to raise slogans. Some of the members have also assembled at the Well of the House, raising slogans and holding placards.
Rajya Sabha resumes
Rajya Sabha too resumes amidst protests by Opposition members. "This is not the agenda," the Chair says, but the Opposition members continue to raise the issue of suspension of 12 MPs.
Amidst Opposition protests, Election laws amendment bill 2021 moved in Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha resumes
Opposition MPs continue to demand the removal of MoS Home Ajay Mishra 'Teni'. "We're not against any individual, we're with the farmers," Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury starts.
Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.00 p.m.
The Lower House has been adjourned till 2.00 p.m. amid protests by the Opposition.
Questions concerning DDU-GKY scheme are being entertained in the Lower House.
Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2.00 p.m.
The Upper House has been adjourned till 2.00 p.m. amid protests by the Opposition.
Chairman informs the House that the Business Advisory Committee in its meeting yesterday has allotted three hours for government business which incldes the consideration and passing of Election Laws (Amendment) bill as passed by Lok Sabha. Following this announcement, Mallikarjun Kharge voiced his opposition, asking "Why we should accept it?"
Chairman responded, "Don't accept it. House accepts it". Mr. Naidu was quick to adjourn the House.
Motions for election to the Tea Board and for election to committee on welfare of other backward classes are adopted.
The Lower House is entertaining questions concerning cultivation of spices.
Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha resume
Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha resume their proceedings for the seventeenth day of the winter session.
Papers are being laid on the table in Rajya Sabha. Question Hour begins in Lok Sabha.
Legislative Business for December 21, 2021 is as follows:
1. The Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing.
1. The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing.
2. The Appropriation (No.5) Bill, 2021 for consideration and return.
₹13,109 cr recovered from economic fugitives: Finance Minister
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday informed the Lok Sabha that banks have recovered ₹13,109.17 crore by selling the assets of fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
The Minister’s comments came during her reply to a discussion on the second batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants which was passed by the Lok Sabha by a voice vote.
The discussion on the Supplementary Demands for Grants, authorising the government to spend an additional ₹3.73 lakh crore during the current fiscal, concluded last week.
Government not allowing discussion on important issues in Parliament: Rahul
Accusing the government of not allowing a discussion on important issues, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the Union Government is responsible to run Parliament and not the Opposition.
“They are attacking democracy. There is a non-stop attack on democracy and that is why we are fighting here,” Mr. Gandhi told reporters, adding that the Narendra Modi government was not allowing any debate on price rise, Ladakh, minimum support price (MSP) and Lakhimpur Kheri violence among other issues.
Mr. Gandhi had given a notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the issue of the “statehood and inclusion of Ladakh in Schedule VI of Consitution”.
However, the issue couldn’t be taken up as the Lok Sabha witnessed multiple adjournments over the Opposition’s demand to sack Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni because of his alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Day 16 recap
Lok Sabha passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amidst unrelenting protests from the Opposition members. Both the Houses witnessed Opposition protests throughout the day on Monday. In the Lok Sabha, Opposition members called for discussions on various issues, including the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which Ashish Mishra, son of Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, is the prime accused.
'The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021' was moved in the Rajya Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman amidst continued protests by Opposition MPs. And even as the Chair asked the members to speak on the subject, many Opposition MPs continued raising the matter of suspension of 12 of their colleagues as well as their demand of removal of Mr. Mishra.
During the Question Hour in Lok Sabha, questions concerning Mid-Day Meal schemes, conservation of monuments, conservation of forests, social security benefits for gig and platform workers, and opportunities for overseas jobs for the youth of the country were entertained.