Two key bills are set to be introduced on the tenth day of the monsoon session of the parliament. While The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 will be introduced in the Lok Sabha, The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
But the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for an hour and later for the day over BJP chief Amit Shah's Tuesday's remarks on former prime ministers during a discussion on Assam's NRC.
Here are the live updates:
Anurag Thakur, BJP member and a former cricket administrator speaks. He says sports is embroiled in corruption and it must be addressed. He also points out that the allocation for sports in the Union and states budgets are very low. How do we produce medals with such low budgets, he asks.
He poses a series of questions. How many universities support sports? How many jobs does sports support in terms of administrators or management staff? How many medals could we produce in athletics, tracks and field? How much money do we spend on athletes?
Our families concentrate on education and career but not on sports, he claims.
He lauds the Ministry for choosing Manipur as the place for the University. This will help to promote north-east, says Mr. Thakur.
The Lok Sabha is adjourned for the day. Mr. Thakur will continue his speech tomorrow.
The Bill seeks to establish a National Sports University in Manipur. The foundation stone for the university was laid by the Prime Minister, it plans to run two courses.
N.K. Premachandran points out the earlier version of the Bill was introduced in 2017 but sent to Standing Committee. But the recommendations were not incorporated in the present Bill, he says and claims the government is undermining the parliamentary system of democracy systematically.
Mr. Premachandran also claims the Central government is having a upper hand in the proposed University and the autonomy would be affected.
He also request government to consider his home state Kerala for the next leg of the University. He also wants schools to compulsorily teach sports.
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore introduces the National Sports University Bill, 2018. This is the sixth Bill tabled to replace ordinance during the monsoon session.
Mr. Rathore says the Ordinance was promulgated to ensure timely functioning of the University.
N.K. Premachandran seeks clarification. He says the minister has not answered the question on increasing the strength of judges. Why don't you have the political will to surpass the Supreme Court judgement, he asks.
The Bill goes for voting and is passed by voice vote.
The National Sports University Bill, 2018 is taken up for discussion.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responds. He says the members have raised the level of Lok Sabha to a new high during the debate. He also thanks Meenakshi Lekhi for answering on behalf of him.
It is not a sin to bring Ordinance. It doesn't mean we are surpassing Parliament, Mr. Prasad says. On why an Ordinance was brought, he blames the "non-functioning" of the Parliament during Budget session.
On the reduction of value to Rs. 3 lakh, Mr. Prasad says it will help small business houses. We want an inclusive India where small traders are treated on par with large businesses, he says.
Mr. Prasad says the overall number of courts will be increased to 21,153 by the next year. The court halls have also been increased by leaps and bounds. "We are doing our best for judicial infrastructure," he adds.
On judicial appointments, Mr. Prasad says the NDA government increased the number of posts in High Courts and lower judiciary. We wanted to bring a National Judicial Appointment Commission, but the Supreme Court quashed it.
What is the remedy for that, asks the Chair. We can simply put everything on Supreme Court, he remarks. "We are the lawmakers, judges are intepreters. We have to find a solution," he says.
Mr. Prasad says though he accepts the judgment, but has reservation. Mr. Prasad recalls the law was passed almost unanimously but the Supreme Court gave a loaded judgment on the Law Minister being part of the commission.
Bring another law. We'll support you, says Pinaki Mishra.
As Mr. Prasad says vacancy are being filled up, members asks about representations from minority, women, SC/ST and backward classes.
Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav (RJD) was the poor villager doesn't like visiting courts for disputes. We have to help them and not concentrate only on corporates, he says. He also speaks on reservation in judiciary, which the BJP members object.
Will commercial courts look after tax disputes too, asks TDP member Ravindra Babu. He terms the Rs. 3 lakh threshold ridiculous. Why can't the government bring an all-India Judicial Service.
TRS member B.N. Goud invokes Shakespeare play "Merchant of Venice" during the speech. Narrating the storyline of the play, Mr. Goud calls the fugitive offenders as "Merchant of India." Learn from Hong Kong and Singapore, says the member on settling commercial disputes.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) says the Bill may be passed here but the issue won't be resolved until judicial capacity is strengthen. He wants to know if the vacancy in all courts have increased in the last 10 years. Why are you not giving enough money to establish new courts, he asks. Mr. Owaisi asks about the status of Telangana High Court.
Pinaki Mishra (BJD) while Law Commission and Standing Committees recommended Rs. one crore, why did this government choose to bring it down to an alarming Rs. 3 lakh. This virtually USD 5700. Is this an high-value litigation, he asks. Let's face it, noone will go to court for Rs. 3 lakh, he claims.
Shrikant Shinde (Shiv Sena) says commercial disputes must be resolved quickly as it affects the economy. Foreign investors may be put off if cases are not speedily resolved. He lauds the government for bringing the amendments. At the same time, do we have the necessary infrastructure, he asks.
A. Sampath (CPI-M) says exercising laws by ordinance is undemocratic. He also accuses the Standing Committee are being made irrelavant. We are the nation having the largest number of undertrials are languishing in prisons. The ratio of judicial officers is 10-40 per one lakh population even in developing nations. In our country it's less than 30 for a million. The government is proposing Bills for money and machine but I stand with the man, he says.
AIADMK member also says the Bill will overburden the courts. He also says two-thirds of prisoners are undertrials and the government should take steps to address it. He also says State governments must not be burdened with the responsibility of setting up district Benches.
Trinamool member Idris Ali begins his speech in Bengali and continues in English. He uses the time to highlight that state government can be allowed to appoint judges with consultation with Chief Justice. This is help in quick disposal of pendency cases, he adds.
Congress member S. P. Muddahanumegowda says ordinances must be used in rarest of rare case scenario and if it is repeatedly used, it will lose its seriousness.
By reducing the value of disputes, you are diluting the Act, he claims. How are you going to reduce the pendency without any new infrastructure, he asks.
Recalling the Question Hour, Mr. Gowda says there is already a shortage of judges and this will only increase the burden of the courts.
He recalls how three Benches are created for Karnataka High Court. He wants all districts of Hyderabad Karnataka to come under Gulberga Bench.
K.H. Muniyappa is in the Chair.
Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP), a member from Delhi, says the Bill is important for the National Capital. Ms. Lekhi says the Bill improve our ranking in the Ease of Doing Business.
On the reduction of value to Rs. 3 lakh, Ms. Lekhi claims it takes more than 1000 days to resolve such cases and 52 per cent pending cases fall under this category.
India has the repute of handling insolvency. We are now the six largest economy and we should aim for the first place. These amendments will help in achieving it, she says.
N.K. Premachandran continues his speech. He congratulates the Law Minister for bringing the pre-mediation clause.
Accelaration of economy must not be at the cost of common man, he warns. He also says the reduction of commercial disputes value from Rs. one crore to Rs. three lakh. This will burden the courts, he adds.
The Chair asks Meenakshi Lekhi of BJP to speak.
Mallikharjun Kharge says every time the ruling member initiates the debate. Why not an opposition party initiate it? The Chair says the since the statutory motion and Bill seeking to replace the Ordinance are taken simultaneously to save time. Mr. Thambi Durai says he is practicing the existing convention.
Minister Arjun Meghwal says Congress would have got the opportunity to initiate the discussion had the statutory motion not been moved.
What is the Bill about?
- The Commercial Courts Act, 2015 provides for commercial courts and commercial divisions of high courts to adjudicate commercial disputes with a value of at least one crore rupees. The Ordinance reduces this limit to three lakh rupees.
- The Ordinance allows state governments to establish commercial courts at the district level, even in territories where high courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.
- In areas where high courts do not have original jurisdiction, state governments may set up commercial appellate courts at the district level to consider appeals from commercial courts below the level of a district judge.
Source: PRS India
N.K. Premachandran raises to oppose the Bill. Ravi Shankar Prasad, on a lighter note says, in the last four years Mr. Premachandran has not supported a single Bill. Mr. Premachandran says he will come to the Bill later but wants to know the "compelling situation" that prompted the government to promulgate an Ordinance.
He also wants the government to shorten the name of the Bill. "It is very difficult to pronounce," Mr. Premachandran rues and goes on to wonder how will he quote the complicated name it in a court.
I am not opposing the Bill in toto, but I have reservations, he says.
Lok Sabha takes up The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018, for discussion.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moves the Bill. He says good governance is also part of good economy. Introducing the Bill, Mr. Prasad says the Bill allows the state governments to establish commercial courts at the district level.
Today there are 214 Commercial Courts, Mr. Prasad says and over 2000 cases of over Rs. one crore are pending.
The Bill also promotes premediation of disputes.
Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai is in the Chair.
N.K. Premachandran, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Prof. Saugata Roy have moved statutory motion to disapprove the Bill, claiming the Ordinance was unnecessary.
Rajya Sabha reconvenes. Sukhendu Shekar Roy raises Point Of Order saying a member can't speak twice. The Chair rejects the Point of Order and asks Amit Shah to speak. Trinamool members object, troop the Well and raising slogans.
Members from Assam want to speak. But the Chair says he can't allow them to speak now since their party's alloted time has ended.
Amit Shah says he wouldn't speak again. Home Minister Rajnath Singh raises to speak. He is barely audible.
A member raises Point of Order. "There is no order, how can we allow Point of Order," asks M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is in the Chair.
Mr. Naidu thanks the Home Minister for trying to make a statement on the issue for three straight days. Since the House is not in order, I am adjourning the House," Mr. Naidu says.
Zero Hour continues in Lok Sabha. Prominent issues raised includes flood situation in Arunachal Pradesh, alleged harassment of Assamese in Meghalaya, fluoride content in groundwater in Rajasthan, new railway lines in various regions.
Lok Sabha adjourns, to meet at 2:05 pm.
A Manipur member wants to name the India-Myanmar boundary. Some nine pillars have to be demarcated, says MoS Kiren Rijiu. The member insists on naming the pillars. Mr. Rijiju blames the news report for the tensions in Manipur. The report was false. There is no problem on ground as such, he says.
After taking 12 questions, Rajya Sabha is adjourned. The Chair says conclusion of discussion on NRC will be taken up as soon as the House reconvenes.
Suresh Prabhu is answering questions on the second phase of UDAN scheme. The acronym Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik is a Regional Connectivity scheme has entered its second phase and plans to include helicopter services in this time.
A member asks about the status of Phase 1. Mr. Prabhu says some airlines stopped its service awarded in Phase 1. Some airports couldn't be completed due to land availability. He tables the complete details.
M.B. Rajesh (CPI-M) speaks in Hindi, probably for the first time. He speaks about the Palakkad coach factory. The project has been scrapped recently and Mr. Rajesh urges the Ministry to honour its promise made to the people of Palakkad. The Chair complements his Hindi skills.
In the meantime, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the Parliament today. Apart from meeting her party members, she is learnt to have met senior BJP leader L.K. Advani as well.
Ms. Banerjee also met the floor leaders of various political parties. Ms. Banerjee has been critical of the NRC exercise in Assam and her party has raised the issue several times in both House of the Parliament.
What is the government's stand on bringing the ATF under GST asks Anand Sharma. Dharmendra Pradhan says while the government is of the view that every petroleum product must come under GST, the matter is being discussed with the States.
K.K. Venugopal raises the issue of sea erosion and continuous rains in Kerala. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar says the Central government will provide all necessary assistance to affected people.
During Question Hour, Arjun Meghwal is responding questions on Pension under EPS-95 scheme. A member wants to raise the minimum pension to Rs. 2000. Mr. Meghwal says Rs. 1000 is the minimum amount. The pensioners can get more than that.
Rajya Sabha resumes. The Chair wants to proceed with Question Hour. Prasanna Acharya (BJD) suggests the Home Minister may make a statement on the NRC issue. BJP's Bhupendra Yadav also agrees with Mr. Acharya. But BJP members want Amit Shah to complete his speech.
The Chair proceeds with Question Hour.
Krishnagiri member Ashok Kumar questions on misuse of online data. Minister Ravishankar Prasad says India will not allow a Cambridge Analytica-like scandal to happen in its soil. He says the Ministry has asked all social media firms to appoint a grievance officer as a point of contact with government machinery and the firm. He also says the tech firms have the onus to find out the origins of rumour or fake news. "It is not a rocket science. They must be able to find out the origin of the news spread on a single day from a State, " he says.
On that note, Question Hour ends.
While answering a question on overhauling diesel locomotives, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal says some of these will be converted to electric locomotives. The railways plans to induct more electric locomotives in order to make the industry less-polluting.
Which stations will be modernised with the help of private participation, an AIADMK member asks. Mr. Goyal says the lease period for private players was 45 years and we weren't allowing sub-lease. So many firms weren't interested. We are now moving for a change. We are considering 99 year lease and allow sub-lease and mortgage. A cabinet meet will decide on these lines, Mr. Goyal says.
A Trinamool Congress member claims works started by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has been stopped. Mr. Goyal assures the member all development works started during his predecessors will be continued.
Question Hour continues in Lok Sabha. Professor Sugata Bose (Trinamool Congress) asks if Doklam was raised during the Prime Minister's informal summit with China.
He begins his question welcoming back the Prime Minister who attended the BRICS summit. "I welcome him from a safe distance," he remarks taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi's "hug diplomacy" and the BJP's reaction to it.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says the Wuhan summit was to increase mutual trust and cooperation and no specific topic was discussed. Ms. Swaraj also informs the House that Doklam has been resolved diplomatically.
Prof. Bose poses more questions on freedom of navigation and also regrets asking these questions to External Affairs Minister who was not part of the Wuhan Summit. There is a parliamentary convention of the Prime Minister apprising the House on such summits but that is not followed, he says.
Ms. Swaraj says she has the details and she can give answers.
Sikkim member Prem Das Rai also asks about Doklam. Ms. Swaraj says Bhutan and China have boundary issues and India cannot comment on that. On the issue of Doklam, where India was involved, it has been resolved, she asserts.
Amit Shah raises to speak but Congress members protest. Mr. Shah says they can raise more Point of Orders after he speaks. The Chair objects to it and says two members can't talk between themselves.
House is adjourned till 12 noon.
In Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma wants BJP chief Amit Shah's remarks expunged. The member's remarks insulted every Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi, says Mr. Sharma. The Chair says he will look into it.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu raises to speak. He says whatever happened yesterday was most unfortunate. The Chair has the power to adjourn the House. When I don't want the unruly scenes to be seen by the people, I adjourn the House.
As an exception I allowed the suspension of Question Hour and allowed a discussion, says Mr. Naidu and allows the discussion to continue.
Both Houses assemble.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan proceeds with Question Hour even though some members want to discuss the National Register of Citizens of Assam.
Renuka Butta joins TDP's protest
Kurnool MP Renuka Butta, who won the Parliamentary election on YSR Congress' ticket, was seen with TDP members during a protest seeking Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.
Ms. Butta has shifted her loyalties to the TDP but continues to be considered as YSR Congress member in Lok Sabha. The YSR Congress' petition to treat it as defection and disqualify her is pending before the Lok Sabha Speaker.
The Left members from Kerala protested outside the main entrance of the Parliament building seeking the reinstatement of the ₹550-crore rail coach factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad. The Union government recently scrapped the project saying there no shortage for coaches now.