Special Session to debate Parliament’s 75-year journey, take up Bills

Special Session of Parliament agenda indicates that it may be used to shift proceedings to new Parliament building inaugurated on May 28; Opposition still suspects that the government might not be revealing its cards just yet

September 13, 2023 10:19 pm | Updated September 14, 2023 08:37 am IST - NEW DELHI

The new Parliament building in  New Delhi on September 6, 2023.

The new Parliament building in New Delhi on September 6, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Ending the suspense on the agenda of the Special Session of Parliament, which will be held from September 18 to 22, the Parliamentary bulletin revealed that on the first day of the session, the two Houses will hold a discussion on Parliament’s 75-year journey, starting from the Constituent Assembly that first met on December 9, 1946.

 The bulletins issued by both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha noted that on September 18, the first day of the special session, there will be a discussion on the subject, “Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings”.

The agenda indicates that the government could use the special session to finally shift to the new Parliament building. Though it was inaugurated on May 28, the new building was not used for the Monsoon Session of Parliament; there was no official explanation on why the session was not held in the new building.

New Bills

As per the Rajya Sabha bulletin, three Bills will be taken up in this special session: the Post Office Bill, 2023 to “consolidate and amend the law relating to Post Office in India”; the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, to “regulate the appointment, conditions of service and term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners”; and The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023 to “repeal certain enactments and to amend an enactment”.

In addition to the legislations on Election Commissioners and the Post Office, the Lok Sabha will take up two additional Bills: The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi also announced an all-party meeting of Parliamentary floor leaders on September 17, a day ahead of the special session.

Opposition criticism

The first day agenda was revealed amidst the Opposition’s persistent criticism of the government for not revealing the expected business for the special session. Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had slammed the government for keeping the Opposition in the dark.

Reacting to the Parliamentary bulletins, the party’s communications chief Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X (formerly Twitter), “Finally, after pressure from Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s letter to the Prime Minister, the Modi government has condescended to announce the agenda for the special 5-day session of Parliament beginning September 18th. The Agenda as published at the moment, is much ado about nothing-- all this could have waited till Winter session in November.” 

However, the Opposition still suspects that the government might not be revealing its cards just yet. “I am sure the legislative grenades are being kept up their sleeves to be unleashed at the last moment as usual,” Mr. Ramesh added. He further said that the INDIA parties would “steadfastly oppose the insidious CEC Bill”.

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