Parliament LIVE updates: The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with the 'aye's having the majority.
Parliament LATEST updates: The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with the 'aye's having the majority. Several Opposition MPs spoke against the bill and urged the Centre to withdraw it and apply modifications suggested.
However, none of the amendments suggested by the Opposition members like TMC MP Sougata Roy, were accepted by the House.
AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said that the chairperson of the NHRC should be from the national commission for minorities. Owaisi spoke about encounter killings, custodial deaths, and mob lynchings.
"The Supreme Court has said that the Centre has to make a law on mob lynchings, but why hasn't the government done so? Why are the police officers who are accused for mob lynchings not punished?" he questioned.
DMK MP Kanimozhi spoke after Union minister Satya Pal Singh defended the human rights bill in the Lower House. Singh questioned Darwin's theory of evolution and slammed NGOs for being "financed by foreign organisations" and for supporting "terrorists, anti-nationals, and rapists".
He also said that the Centre is "committed" to protecting human rights.
Kanimozhi began her speech by saying that preserving "scientific temper" was important for upholding human rights. She said, "I oppose the bill because it tries to include the membership of several chairpersons of other national commissions like for backward classes, child rights and we cannot ignore the fact that they are 'political appointees', so how can the NHRC work independently if there are 'political appointees' who have been included in the commission?"
"In spite of the government being against the NGOs in the country, we cannot ignore the work that social activists have done to uphold the rights of marginalised communities.
"A reduced tenure will result in the chairperson not having the time to understand and resolve the issues that come before it. Per day there are at least one lakh cases that come to the commission, how can only one more additional member help? Now, the whole power rests with the chairperson, which is definitely not democratic."
TMC MP Sougata Roy also raised points in support of Kanimozhi's arguments.
Amid objections from several Opposition MPs — Congress, AIMIM, TMC — the Lower House on Friday passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bil, 2019. The bill was supported by 224 MPs, while nine MPs objected the bill.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor called the Amendment bill the "RTI elmination bill". He said that the amendment would take the power away from the Information Commission. AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said that the amendment bill lacks "legislative competence" because a clause in the amendment takes away the powers of the state.
However, Speaker Om Birla cut off Tharoor, Owaisi, and TMC MP Sougata Roy and asked the Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Public Grievances and Pensions to counter the arguments. "Let us allow the bill to be introduced and then debate," he said, while countering the Opposition MPs' objections.
AIMIM MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi raised the Centre's vaccination drive to curb dengue and said that the government was taking advantage of the locals that were being tested for the vaccine to "benefit big pharmaceutical companies". He said that members of the Parliament should volunteer as testers instead.
Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare said it was unfortunate that an "educated" member of the House was casting doubts on a universally benefited and accepted thing like vaccines.
The ongoing session of the 17th Lok Sabha has been the most productive in the last 20 years, with the Lower House registering 128 percent productivity till Tuesday, according to think tank PRS Legislative Research.
Lok Sabha members discussed the General Budget for 17 hours, demands for grants for Ministry of Railways for 13 hours and for Ministry of Road and Transport for 7.44 hours, Speaker Om Birla informed the House on Thursday.
He said members discussed demands for grants for Rural Development and Agriculture Ministry for 10.36 hours, and issues related to Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry for 4.14 hours. Since Zero Hour in Lok Sabha could not take place for the past few days, Birla allowed members to raise issues of urgent public importance around 6 pm.
A total of 162 members raised issues during the extended Zero Hour on Thursday, which went on for 4 hours and 50 minutes before the House was adjourned at 10.50 pm. The Lok Sabha has been working for more than its scheduled time and has sat till midnight on two occasions to complete its legislative business.
"This session, the Lok Sabha has been working for more than its scheduled time. Till 16 July, 2019, the Lok Sabha's productivity is at 128 percent which is the highest for any session in the past 20 years," the PRS Legislative Research said.
Similarly, the productivity of Rajya Sabha, where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation lacks majority, unlike Lok Sabha, is also relatively high. The productivity of the Upper House was 98 percent till Tuesday, according to the non-profit organisation.
Productivity means the number of hours the House actually functioned compared to the number of hours officially earmarked for it to work. The session started on 17 June and will conclude on 26 July.