Washout in Lok Sabha; Rajya Sabha passes three Bills despite Opposition walkout 

Updated - August 02, 2023 10:20 pm IST

Published - August 02, 2023 10:19 pm IST

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar conducts the proceedings of the house during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on August 2.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar conducts the proceedings of the house during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on August 2. | Photo Credit: ANI

Proceedings in both the Houses did not run smoothly on August 2. While the Lok Sabha could not manage to transact any business, the Rajya Sabha following a walkout by members of the opposition benches passed three crucial Bills. 

Separately, it was reported that Speaker of the lower House, Om Birla expressed deep displeasure with both the ruling party and the opposition over the present functioning of the House. As per news agency ANI, Mr. Birla has told both the sides that he will not come back to the House until MPs behave as per the essential dignity of the House. In fact, he did not officiate today’s proceedings.  

See the day’s updates from the Monsoon session of Parliament here

Lok Sabha 

Protests about the situation in Manipur by members of the opposition benches continued on August 2. Yet again, members stormed the Well of the House with placards voicing their demands. Only two questions could be taken up during the Question Hour before the House was adjourned until afternoon. 

The situation did not change much in the afternoon hours. Member from Ahmedabad West Kirit Solanki officiated as the chair as Union Minister laid papers on the table amid the continued protests. Despite his warning, members from the opposition benches continued the sloganeering which led him to adjourn the House for the day. 

Rajya Sabha 

The Upper House was off to a relatively calm start on August 2 morning with papers being laid on the table of the House. The Chair announced that he had received 58 notices under rule 267, asking for suspension of business to discuss the issue of Manipur violence. He informed that since he had already agreed to a short duration discussion - which did not take place, the notices would not be admitted.  

Further, Vice President Dhankhar stated that there had been a mistaken impression circulated in the media that a short duration discussion under rule 176 would only last for 2.5 hours and that this was factually incorrect, as there was no time bar for discussion under this rule.   

He gave the floor to Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, who said that his notice under rule 267 mentioned specific points as to why this discussion should be taken up. The Chair moved to notices under rule 176, which included issues such as the allocation of farmland to Neyveli Lignite Corp. Ltd, violence against women in Kerala and hardship caused people in Hyderabad and Telangana owing to rain. At this point the Opposition staged a walkout from the Upper House.

At about 11:30 a.m., members of the INDIA alliance met President Droupadi Murmu to apprise her of the situation in Manipur. Members from the alliance had recently visited the state during the weekend.  

Post the opposition walkout, the House proceeded to the Question Hour.  

Following its conclusion, the House was adjourned for lunch. 

In the afternoon sitting, the House passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023, and the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 – in the absence of the Opposition in the House. Shortly after resumption, members of the INDIA bloc walked out of the Upper House. This was after they were denied the opportunity to address the violent incidents in the country by Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh. 

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 allows private sector to mine six out of 12 atomic minerals, including lithium, and deep-seated minerals such as gold and silver. Earlier, all 12 atomic minerals were reserved for mining and exploration by state-owned entities. The Bill amended The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. 

As for the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, it redefines what constitutes a ‘forest’ in Indian Law. It stipulates that only those lands that were notified as ‘forest’ under the Indian Forest Act 1927, any other relevant Law or were recorded as ‘forests’ in government records will be acknowledged as ‘forests’ under the Act as well. 

The House extended its usual working hours to also pass the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023. The Bill proposes to amend 183 provisions to be decriminalise certain provisions in 42 Central acts that administered by 19 Ministeries (or depts). It proposes pragmatic revision of fines and penalties commensurate to the offence committed, establishes adjudicating officers and appellate authorities alongside periodic increase in quantum of fines and penalties. Addressing the House, Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal stated that it did away with provisions that mandated severe punishments for smallest of offences or required the offenders of minor incidents to go through a judicial process.  

Following its passage, the House was adjourned to meet again on August 3.

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