Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on June 21 came up with suggestions to tackle the issue of lapsing of bills due to dissolution of the Lok Sabha and the long-pendency of legislations in the Upper House, in some cases for more than 30 years.
Addressing the House on the first full working day of the 249th session of the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Naidu put forward his suggestions and sought a wider debate on the issue.
According to Article 107 of the Constitution, bills passed in the LokSabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha get lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. As many as 22 bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabhagot lapsed as they cannot be cleared in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Naidusaid. “In effect, the new Lok Sabha has to take up the bills again. It would take a minimum of two sessions to do so,” he said. Stressing the need “to rethink the provisions of lapsing of bills in the Upper House”, he suggested a wider debate on the matter of automatic lapsing of bills .
“The lapsed bills were important for socioeconomic transformation of the country,” he added. They include the Land Acquisition Bill, the bill on amendments to the Factories Act, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, the Consumer Protection Bill, the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill, the bill on amendments to the Companies Act, theAadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Triple Talaq Bill, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill and the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Laws pending in Rajya Sabha
Seeking to draw attention to the long-pending bills in the Upper House itself, Mr. Naidu suggested that such bills should automatically lapse if the Rajya Sabha fails to clear them within five years. At end of the 248th session of the Rajya Sabha 55 bills were pending before the Upper House including the now lapsed bills. “The Upper House now has 33 bills pending. Three are pending for more than 20 years. Six are pending for 10 to 20 years. Fourteen are pending for five to 10 years and the rest are pending for up to 5 years,” he said. “The oldest pending bill is the Indian Medical Association (Amendment) Bill, 1987 that is pending for more than 32 years.”
Other bills include the Constitution (79th Amendment) Bill, 1992 (small family norms for legislators), the Provisions of the Municipalities (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Bill, 2001, the Seeds Bill, 2004, the Mines (Amendment) Bill, 2011, the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2011, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012, the Building and Other Construction Workers Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Waqf Properties (Eviction of Un-authorised Occupants) Bill, 2014.
“I suggest if a bill is not passed for five years in the Rajya Sabha, then such bill should be deemed as lapsed automatically,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said.
Earlier in his speech, Mr. Naidu also appealed to the House to reflect on the cost of disruptions in the House. “Every question hour lost deprives about 40 members the opportunity to seek answers from government. Every zero hour lost means 15 members lose the chance to raise issues of public importance. Ten more members lose the opportunity to speak in the House if it does not function,” he said while appealing for a change in the environment of disruptive politics. “We must use the time in constructive a manner,” he said. “I don’t get sleep some days (due to this),” an emotional Mr. Naidu added.