Winter Session kicks off on Tuesday: Crucial session of Parliament to see key bills, critical issues addressed

The Winter Session of Parliament, which begins on Tuesday, assumes significance with a host of important issues likely to be raised by the Centre and opposition parties. This session, which will be the last full-fledged session before the Lok Sabha polls next year, will see discussions on the much-talked about triple talaq ordinance, disbanding of the Medical Council of India as well as debates on a legislation on the Ram temple. It starts a day after the grand meeting of Opposition parties for a possible anti-BJP front and on the day that the results of the five Assembly elections will be declared.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called an all-party meeting on Tuesday, the first day of Parliament's Winter Session, to build a consensus for the smooth functioning of the Lower House. Another all-party meeting has been called by the Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and the government on Monday in order to achieve a consensus for the smooth conduct of proceedings in the Upper House. The Monsoon Session, that had begun on 18 July and ended on 10 August, saw a no-trust vote in the Lok Sabha and a floor test in the Rajya Sabha over the election of the deputy chairman.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The first day, however, will only see obituaries for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and late parliamentatary affairs minister Ananth Kumar.

According to a report by News18, there are currently 66 bills pending in the Parliament and of these 23 are listed for consideration and passage, and two for withdrawal. It also states that as many as 20 new bills are listed for introduction, consideration and passage.

Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the new Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, also called for a customary session ahead of the actual proceedings. The Opposition is also likely to flag issues they would want to be discussed in the two Houses such as the Rafale deal, CBI feud, India-Pakistan relations and agrarian crisis, reports News18.

Triple talaq

The triple talaq bill, which has already been passed the Lok Sabha, will have to pass the floor test in the Rajya Sabha. The Union cabinet, in September, had passed an ordinance by which giving instant divorce has been made illegal and void. The offender will attract a jail term of three years. The ordinance states that even though the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 is pending in the Rajya Sabha and despite the Supreme Court has observed that the practice of triple talaq is unconstitutional, the practice still carries on. The official name for the law is the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance 2018.

Indian Medical Council (Amendment Ordinance, 2018)

The Union cabinet had in December 2017 cleared the National Commission Bill in a bid to reduce corruption in medical admission and let the government have a say in fee structure in at least 40 percent of private medical colleges. proposed allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homeopathy and ayurveda to practise allopathy after completing a "bridge course". In January, the Bill was sent to the standing committee after several Opposition members demanded it in the Lok Sabha. The Centre took the ordinance route as it failed to get the National Medical Commission Bill passed in the Monsoon Session of Parliament despite it being listed.

Companies (Amendment) Ordinance

Promulgated on 2 November, 2018, this ordinance amends several provisions in the Companies Act, 2013 relating to penalties, commencement of business, disqualification of directorship, among others.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Right to Education Act, 2009 prohibits detention of children till they complete elementary education ie Class 8. The Bill amends this provision to state that a regular examination will be held in Class 5 and Class 8 at the end of every academic year. If a child fails the exam, he will be given additional instruction, and take a re-examination. A Standing Committee report was given in February this year and the bill passed in the Lok Sabha in July.

The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad on 18 December, 2017, this Bill seeks to amend the Representation of People Act, 1950 and the Representation of People Act, 1951 to allow for proxy voting and to make certain provisions of the Acts gender-neutral.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth, and includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers. The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in areas such as education, employment, and healthcare. It directs the Central and state governments to provide welfare schemes in these areas.

NRI Voting Bill

The Centre had on 8 December informed the Supreme Court that a bill to amend electoral law to allow NRIs to vote through postal or e-ballots has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is likely to come up in the Rajya Sabha in the Winter Session, reports News18. The petitions have said how 114 countries, including 20 Asian nations, have adopted external voting, which could be held by setting up polling booths at diplomatic missions or through postal, proxy or electronic voting.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2018

This Bill amends the existing act with respect to investigation and prosecution of offences relating to terrorism.

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 13:14:26 IST

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