Monsoon Session ends: From Rahul Gandhi's hugplomacy to RS deputy chairman election, here are the highlights

The Monsoon Session of the Parliament, which ended on Friday, saw a lot of important Bills being passed and a lot of heated words being exchanged between the government and Opposition over various issues like the NRC, Muzaffarpur rape case, etc.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Friday as the Monsoon Session ended after 17 sittings for 112 hours, during which 21 laws, including one to amend the SC/ST Act, were passed. While 8 hours 26 minutes of the session were marred by disruptions, the House sat almost 21 hours extra to discuss major issues during the session that began on 18 July.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the session has been 'more productive and satisfactory' than the previous Budget Session and last year's Monsoon Session.

But perhaps this session will most likely be remembered for the failed no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government and that hug which created quite a stir in Indian politics.

Here are the highlights of the session:

Rajya Sabha defers triple talaq bill

The contentious triple talaq Bill, which criminalises the practice of instant "talaq", could not be taken up for discussion and passage on the last day of Monsoon Session on Friday, owing to lack of consensus among political parties on the issue.

The Congress-led Opposition has been demanding that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 be sent to a Select Committee for further scrutiny.

The BJP-led government, which does not have a majority in the Upper House, had also made efforts to get the bill cleared in the Budget Session also.

Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election

The ruling NDA's nominee and JD(U) member Harivansh Narayan Singh was on Thursday elected as deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, securing 125 votes as against 105 polled by Opposition candidate BK Hariprasad.

The post of the deputy chairman was lying vacant since the retirement of PJ Kurien on 1 July.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The nomination of Harivansh was proposed by Ram Prasad Singh and seconded by union minister and RPI member Ramdas Athawale. BJP president Amit Shah, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut and Akali Dal's Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa were also among the proposers.

The voting was carried out the second time as some members pointed out mistakes in the first polling. The result displayed for the first voting was "122 ayes, 98 noes, 2 abstain. Total: 222."

However, the final vote count was 125 votes in favour of Harivansh, 105 for Hariprasad along with two abstentions.

In his speech, the prime minister said the election was such that "dono taraf Hari the, ek ke aage BK tha, BK Hari, koi na beeke, aur ek ke aage koi BK, VK nahi tha (both sides had Hari, but there was 'BK' (Hariprasad) on one side, while the other did not have such initials)."

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu in his welcoming remarks said Harivansh makes constructive suggestions in the meetings of the Business Advisory Committee and his suggestions and interventions were clearly driven by his commitment to enable smooth functioning of the House.

Parliament passes Bill to restore original SC/ST atrocity law

On Thursday, the Parliament passed a Bill to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, with the Rajya Sabha unanimously adopting it amid the din.

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote, had got the nod of the Lok Sabha on 6 August.

The Bill rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order.

It provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

The legislation also provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

Bill to allow NRI proxy voting passed by Lok Sabha

A bill to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Moving the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2017 for consideration and passage, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the provision would help non-resident Indians (NRIs) to participate in the electoral process.

The bill, which was passed by a voice vote in the Lower House, proposes that overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, could now appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes.

As of now, overseas Indians were free to cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered. The bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which till now was only available to service personnel.

Sports university bill passed

On Thursday, Parliament passed a Bill to establish a National Sports University in Manipur. The National Sports University Bill, which was passed by a voice vote in the Upper House, was adopted by the Lok Sabha on 3 August.

The Bill seeks to set up a specialised university in Manipur, which would be the first of its kind, to promote sports education in the areas of sports sciences, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching.

Bill to set up DNA banks introduced in Lok Sabha

A Bill that seeks to set up DNA data banks across India to store profiles and proposes jail term for those who leak the information stored in such facilities was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

It also states that all DNA data, including DNA profiles, DNA samples and records, will only be used for identification of the person and not for any other purpose.

The Bill, based on the one prepared by the Law Commission recently, says that national and regional DNA data banks will be set up for maintaining a national database for identification of suspects in cases, undertrials, victims, missing persons and unidentified human remains.

Tributes paid to Karunanidhi

In a break from tradition, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the late DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

The 94-year-old DMK patriarch served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for five times but was never a member of Parliament. Glowing tributes were paid to the departed leader in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, before the Houses were adjourned for the day.

It is rare that the House is adjourned in case a departed leader is not a sitting or former member. It is a Parliament convention to adjourn for the day in the event of death of a sitting member, Parliament officials said.

Amit Shah's speech in Rajya Sabha disrupted

Vociferous protests by TMC members over NRC and other issues on Tuesday disrupted BJP President Amit Shah's speech on farmers' issues, forcing the premature adjournment of the Rajya Sabha.

Shah had spoken barely five minutes when his speech was disrupted by TMC members who trooped into the Well raising slogans and demanding that their privilege notice under Rule 267 that prescribes suspension of all business to take up a matter, be admitted.

Initiating the debate, the BJP chief said the NDA government had taken several steps to boost agriculture and a huge budget has been allocated during the period 2014-2018.

"The budget for agriculture sector has been increased by 75 per cent in the last four years. During 2009-2014, the budget on agriculture was Rs 1,21,082 crore. It has been increased to Rs 2,11,394 in 2014-2018," he said.

The government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for drip irrigation, Rs 10,000 crore for dairy, Rs 2,000 crore for agri market, Rs 7,550 crore for fishery and Rs 1,450 crore for animal husbandry, Shah said.

On the government's goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022, Shah said there were many apprehensions on how it will be achieved.

"But the government took everyone's views in a positive way, framed schemes and is working on them," he said, adding that the target of doubling farm income was not "mere words."

Protests over Rafale deal

On Tuesday, Congress and some other Opposition parties had staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha, demanding setting up of a joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Rafale fighter jet deal.

The issue was raised by the Opposition during a discussion on the first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2018-19.

"By not replying to the allegations on the Rafale deal, the government has accepted whatever we have said. He (the finance minister) has accepted. They should resign," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said soon after minister Piyush Goyal replied to the debate on the supplementary demands.

"We demand the setting up of a JPC on Rafale deal...we are walking out," he said and led the walkout of Congress and CPM members who were present in the House at that time.

Bills to simplify GST forms

The government on Tuesday introduced four Bills to amend the GST laws which among other things seek to simplify the return forms and raise the turnover threshold for availing composition scheme to Rs 1.5 crore.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) amendment Bills are primarily aimed at helping the MSME sector and small traders, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said while introducing the bills in the Lok Sabha.

Data on black money

India expects to receive data from Swiss authorities on HSBC accounts of its citizens in about 10 days after Switzerland's apex court directions that data be shared with the Indian government, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had said.

Serious efforts are on to check black money. Though there are no official estimates of such money stashed in foreign countries a tax demand of Rs 5,447 crore has been made in HSBC undisclosed income of Rs 8,448 crore, Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour.

"The Supreme Court of Switzerland has ordered the Swiss government to share with us that data in about a week or ten days ...We are going to get that," the finance minister said replying to a supplementary on a question on black money deposited in foreign banks.

Bill to grant constitutional status to NCBC passed

On Monday, the Parliament passed a bill to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, as several members in the Rajya Sabha urged the government to make public the findings of the caste census and implement reservation accordingly.

The demand was raised during a debate on the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017 in the Upper House, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 2 August, superseding the amendments earlier carried out by the Rajya Sabha.

The Upper House adopted the legislation along with the amendments made by the Lok Sabha, by 156 votes to nil. Over two-third majority of those present voted in favour of the bill, which is a necessity for amending the Constitution.

Protests over Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case

Two MPs from Bihar on Monday had staged protests in the Lok Sabha demanding justice for victims of the Muzaffarpur sex scandal case, claiming evidence of the crime was destroyed.

As soon as the House took up the day's proceedings, Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan and RJD's Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav came to the Well protesting against the alleged sexual exploitation of young girls at the shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.

Country loses the most due to Parliament disruptions: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 August had said that the government has the least to lose due to disruptions in Parliament and it is the country which loses the most.

He had also said it is the duty of each parliamentarian to lend voice to the problems of the common man in Parliament and force the government to take steps for their welfare.

The prime minister was speaking at an event at the central hall of Parliament to confer the best parliamentarian awards for the years 2014 to 2017.

"It is important for MPs to express the voice of the poor and the marginalised. Sadly, when there is noise and chaos in the House, MPs are not able to speak and the loss is of the entire nation," he had said.

He had further said, "Government has the least to lose due to din in Parliament. It is the country which loses the most."

Economic Offenders Bill passed

On 25 July, the Parliament passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, that provides for measures to deter absconding economic outlaws from evading prosecution by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, with the Rajya Sabha's nod to the law.

The Bill says a person can be declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if an arrest warrant has been issued against him for an offence where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will be the implementing and executing agency for this law.

To declare a person an FEO, an application containing details of the properties to be confiscated and the offender's whereabouts will be filed in a special court by the ED Director. The special courts will be designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and would be "like exclusive courts", according to Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

Parliament passes Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill

On 24 July, the Parliament pased the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2018, which provides for punishment to bribe givers and takers, and extends prior nod for prosecution to former public officials with the Lok Sabha giving its assent to the law.

The bill makes specific provisions related to giving a bribe to a public servant, and giving a bribe by a commercial organisation and it also modifies the definitions and penalties for offences related to taking a bribe, being a habitual offender and abetting an offence.

The Bill provides for imprisonment from three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking bribes. Bribe givers have also been included in the legislation for the first time and they can be punished with imprisonment up to seven years, fine, or both.

No special category status to Andhra Pradesh: Government

The government on 24 July also ruled out giving special category status to Andhra Pradesh and said the bifurcated state had got a better deal.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was replying to a nearly four-hour debate in the Rajya Sabha on special category status to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh during which former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a veiled dig at his successor Narendra Modi.

Manmohan Singh said the assurance to Andhra Pradesh was made by him on behalf of Parliament and he expected it to be fulfilled by the government.

The issue came up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha three days after it figured prominently during a debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on a notice given by a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) member.

The no-confidence motion and Rahul Gandhi's hugplomacy

The Narendra Modi government on 20 July passed the no-confidence motion moved by the Oppostion with an overwhelming majority, with the government getting 325 out of a total 451 votes.

Only 126 MPs voted in favour of the motion.

The no-confidence motion was put to vote after a 12-hour heated debate which saw the government and opposition trading charges and a moment of drama when Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walked up to the treasury benches to give a hug to Modi.

The result indicated that the parties not formally part of the BJP-led ruling coalition, the NDA, also voted in the government's favour.

The AIADMK voted for the government, while the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) walked out minutes before the voting on no-turst motion took place.

The Biju Janata Dal walked out of House earlier in the day to abstain from voting, while the Shiv Sena, one of the constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), boycotted it.

Soon after the government won the no-confidence motion, PM Modi said that the NDA has the confidence of 125 crore people.

"NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. I thank all the parties that supported us in the vote today. Our efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of our youth will continue. Jai Hind!," he said in a tweet.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 19:20 PM

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