Winter Session: Parliament gets down to business, but will the relative calm last?
After a thinly-veiled battle to appropriate Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's legacy and a session of outrage and sloganeering, both houses of Parliament finally got round to legislative business on Wednesday and Thursday.
After a thinly-veiled battle to appropriate Dr BR Ambedkar's legacy and a session of outrage and sloganeering, both houses of Parliament finally got round to legislative business on Wednesday and Thursday. It remains to be seen whether the atmosphere of relative calm will continue on Friday.
The Congress has said that it will continue to protest in the Lok Sabha on the issue of VK Singh's comments on atrocities against Dalits, ANI reported. On Wednesday, the Opposition had staged a walkout on the issue. However, in spite of the disruptions, the Lok Sabha has seen some legislative business being conducted. In the Rajya Sabha, the cause for repeated disruptions till now has been the row around the claim that Kumari Selja was asked about her caste in a Gujarat temple.
Among the significant business conducted on Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha was one of on an amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act. The amendment, while enhancing punishments for bribery and introducing punishments for bribe-givers, also extends protection from prosecution to public servants to the period after their retirement. Under the Act, prosecuting agencies have to seek administrative sanction before proceeding with an criminal investigation under that law.
The Samajwadi Party on Thursday had said in the Upper House that the changes in the law would increase corruption instead of mitigating it and would make lawmakers more vulnerable. The Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, too, said that such a law 'would make all of us helpless.'
In the Lok Sabha, an amendment to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, aimed at making the process of arbitration faster, was introduced on Thursday. The amendment to the law also seeks to prevent frivolous litigation by including provisions to impose costs on litigators.
An amendment to a crucial anti-corruption legislation — the Whistloblowers Protection Act, 2014 — prohibits the reporting of a corruption-related disclosure in certain cases, including issues involving the economic and security interests of the country and cabinet proceedings.
The issue of the floods in Tamil Nadu is also expected to figure in the discussions in both houses, with Rajya Sabha members already having offered to use their MPLADS funds for relief work. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having visited Chennai and expressed support, the issue is expected to remain a point of debate even as the state attempts to get back on its feet.
With inputs from agencies
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