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Parliament updates: Lok Sabha passes UAPA Amendment Bill as Sonia Gandhi walksout; Rajya Sabha unanimously passes POCSO Amendment Bill

Parliament LIVE updates: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha. At least, twenty-eight MLAs have spoken on the POCSO Amendment bill. Smriti Irani addresses the Rajya Sabha. Recounting Derek O'Brien's abuse that he faced during his teens, Irani stresses how such incidents leave an imprint on mind. 'After 46 years of the incdient, Derek revealed to the world what happened to him. We should applaud this,' Irani says.

FP Staff July 24, 2019 19:47:24 IST
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Parliament updates: Lok Sabha passes UAPA Amendment Bill as Sonia Gandhi walksout; Rajya Sabha unanimously passes POCSO Amendment Bill
  • Rajya Sabha MPs from the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday gave Zero Hour notices in the Upper House

  • Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has given the notice in Rajya Sabha over 'delay in the production of Vande Bharat Express'

  • The first session of Rajya Sabha after the formation of the new government in May commenced on 20 June and will culminate on 26 July

Highlights

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

July 24, 2019 - 18:23 (IST)

Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day

Special Mentions end. The House is adjourned for the day.

July 24, 2019 - 18:09 (IST)

Rajya Sabha passes POCSO Amendment Bill

July 24, 2019 - 18:06 (IST)

What is POCSO Amendment bill?

An intense debate on the POCSO Amendment Bill follows in the Rajya Sabha. Opposition stresses on introducing POCSO courts in cities, along with district courts. 

  • The bill increases the minimum punsihment for 'penetrative sexual assault' from seven years to ten years, adding that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.
  • Adding two more grounds to the defintion of 'aggravated penetrative sexual assault', the bill includes, assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence. The bill also increases minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.
  • The bill further adds wo more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault. These include — assault committed during a natural calamity, and administrating or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.
  • The bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and enhances the punishment for certain offences.

July 24, 2019 - 18:01 (IST)

Centre sanctions 123 fast-track courts: Smriti Irani tells Rajya Sabha

Speaking on amendments to the POCSO bill, Smriti Irani says: "At least 123 fast-courts have been sanctioned by the government especially for women. More than one lakh cases are pending across the country and 18 states have given consent to establish these courts. The government has sanctioned over Rs 700 crore for the expenditure and by 2021, we aim to form these courts."

July 24, 2019 - 17:58 (IST)

We should applaud Derek O'Brien: Smriti Irani

At least twenty-eight MLAs have spoken on the POCSO Amendment bill in Rajya Sabha. Smriti Irani addresses the Rajya Sabha. Recounting Derek O'Brien's abuse that he faced during his teens, Irani stresses how such incidents leave an imprint on mind. "After 46 years of the incdient, Derek revealed to the world what happened to him. We should applaud this," Irani says. 

July 24, 2019 - 17:55 (IST)

Lok Sabha: As banks become stricter, the poor have no choice but to invest in such schemes, says DMK MP

Lok Sabha discusses The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes. DNV Senthilkumar S of DMK said that the government must understand why people are being pushed towards these schemes. He said if you look at the demographic that takes part in such schemes, it is always the labourers and the daily-wage earners. As banks become stricter, the poor have no choice but to invest in such schemes.

Banks impose a high fee on all transactions, including a fine when a person is not able to keep a minimum balance. Corporations are given huge loan waivers, but the poor are not even looked at, he says. 

July 24, 2019 - 17:52 (IST)

Courts must maintain a child-friendly atmosphere: NCP's Vandana Chavan tells Rajya Sabha 

NCP's Vandana Chavan said that session courts are given the status of the special courts. Because of the same, such courts continue with their day-to-day work and only once in a while undertake cases that come under the POCSO Act. Hence, courts only dedicated to cases under the Act must come into being, she says.

She says that such courts must maintain a child-friendly atmosphere. At present, even the questions asked to the child are not child-friendly and instead tend to add to the trauma, she says. Chavan also said that the government must take strict action to ensure that the identity of the child is protected. Moreover, the government must also look into the question of rehabilitation.

July 24, 2019 - 17:51 (IST)

Rajya Sabha: NCP questions Smriti Irani over extremely low conviction rates under POCSO Act 

NCP member in Rajya Sabha Vandana Chavan says conviction rates under the POCSO Act are extremely low. On the other hand, the pendency or the waiting period for a settlement is extremely high, she says. Although there is a clause in the Act that enables the constitution of special courts to deal with such cases and that such cases have to completed within a period of one year, pendency rates are high.

July 24, 2019 - 17:49 (IST)

Rajya Sabha discusses POCSO

 

Mere legislation is not enough, govt should ensure it's implemented: TDP

TDP's Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar says mere legislation is not effective in such cases. The government should make sure it is implemented as well. He says sexual offences against children should be made the rarest of rare cases. In the cases of the possession of pornography, minimum punishment should be meted out instead of just a mere fine.

Kumar said a number offences against children go unreported. Moreover, thousands of cases are registered but no chargesheet is made by the police, he says. In the absence of a chargesheet, the courts cannot proceed. The government should ensure that the chargesheet is created by the respective police station when such cases come up. He also says special courts or fast-track court should be implemented under the POCSO Act. Apart from the investigation and the court proceedings that take place, the government must also concern itself with the rehabilitation of the victim, he says.

July 24, 2019 - 17:46 (IST)

When a girl child is raped and murdered, it should be considered a case of double murder: PDP in Rajya Sabha

As the discussion and consideration of the the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 continues in Rajya Sabha, PDP's Nazir Ahmed Laway says when the girl child is raped and murdered, it should be considered a case of double murder because not only the child, but her family and the nation is also murdered. Hence, the strictest punishment should be meted out to the perpetrator of such offences. Laway says he is standing here for all the mothers of the nation. 

Parliament updates: The Lok Sabha witnessed aggressive discussion on the controversial The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019  with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, senior Congress leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Shashi Tharoor staging a walkout as Union Home Minister expounded the need for an amended UAPA. In Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, members vehemently spoke in favour of an amended POCSO Bill and the Upper House passed the bill.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha. At least, twenty-eight MLAs have spoken on the POCSO Amendment bill. Smriti Irani addresses the Rajya Sabha. Recounting Derek O'Brien's abuse that he faced during his teens, Irani stresses how such incidents leave an imprint on mind. "After 46 years of the incdient, Derek revealed to the world what happened to him. We should applaud this," Irani says.

Urging people to speak out about sexual assault and harassment, Congress leader Derek O'Brien said recited an incident where as a 13-year-old he was "sexually molested". He urged Members of Parliament, including actors, to speak about incidents of sexual assault or harassment. "The more people will talk about it, the more children will be safe," Derek said.

The Lok Sabha passed the The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 despite several Opposition members vehemently opposing the amendment. After Opposition members, including TMC's Mahua Moitra, Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Karti Chidambaram, NCP's Supriya Sule and AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, opposed the bill calling it "anti-people", Home Minister Amit Shah rose to address the Lower House and slammed Opposition for blocking passage of the bill.  "Members of the House should not disagree with this," he added. "Yasin Bhatkal would have been arrested sooner, if he had been designated as a terrorist," Shah said.

Home Minister Amit Shah raised to address the Lower House over objections raised against the UAPA Amendment bill. Shah slams Opposition in the Lower House and says that the BJP government will never sympathise with terrorists or "urban naxals". He says that UPA-era laws were also similar. He says that those who finance, help terrorists should also be called terrorists. Members of the House should not disagree with this, he remarks. He says Yasin Bhatkal would have been arrested sooner, if he had been designated as a terrorist.

The time has come for the global community to take up the fight against terrorism in earnest, Amit Shah said in the debate on the UAPA Amendment bill in the Lok Sabha. "We have given the NIA power only for cases over which NIA has jurisdiction," Shah said.

"I want to reiterate that the law was brought by the UPA, and if the federal structure has been spoilt it has been spoilt by the UPA. When it comes to an anti-terror fight, we should rise above party politics," he said.

Home Minister Amit Shah raised to address the Lower House over objections raised against the UAPA Amendment bill. He said that no matter which side of the House one sits, they are against terrorism. "The law was implemented when the Congress was in power, the subsequent three amendments were also brought when the UPA was in power. When you are raising questions, you are not thinking about who has brought this law into implementation," he said.

"What you did (regarding the law) was right, I agree. What I am doing now is also right," he added. "Don't oppose a legislation for the sake of opposing the party in power."

AIMIM's Telangana MP Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha opposed The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. Owaisi said, "By bringing such a bill, it will mean we are disrespecting freedom fighters, as it violates of Article 21 merely on the basis of the feeling of the government or suspect. This is social ostracisation. The bill lacks judicial review and I want to know where is parliamentary sovereignty going?" He questions Home Minister Amit Shah. "What about zero tolerance miscarriage of justice as officials don't get suspended. I blame Congress for this, they are are the culprits for bringing in this law. It allows for the seizure of property and where is judicial scrutiny? I believe IPC is good enough. Draconian laws, earlier by Congress and now by BJP, have been used against Muslims and Dalits."

NCP MP in Lok Sabha Supriya Sule quoted Narendra Modi as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, when he opposed the UPA-era Bills on law and order, saying that it affected the federal structure of the country. Sule wanted a clarification on this and further added that the current government should at least acknowledge that they are revisiting UPA-era plans. Sule smiled and went on to add, "If that is so, then we should at least thank P Chidambaram."

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra vehemently opposed The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. She said, "The UAPA bill seeks to do two things: In Clause 5, Section 25, National Investigation Agency (NIA) can go into any state and search the properties of any individual without the permission of the state Police which questions the federal structure of the country. In Clause 5, Section 35, the amendment to the bill allows for individuals to be designated as terrorists without due process. This bill is anti-federalism, anti-constitutional and anti-people. So I urge the Home Minister to withdraw the bill."

She said that if the Centre wants to target someone, they will get them somehow. Each time the Trinamool opposes a Bill, they run the risk of being labeled as anti-national, she added. "Why do I feel a sense of menace. Why is the Opposition called anti-national every time we disagree with the government on issues of national security?"

In Lok Sabha, RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha asked about communal riots in Muzzaffarnagar and that 40 accused have been acquitted. he questioned what is being done for witness protection. To this, Home Minister Amit Shah replied saying that the minister will respond when he has the information on the specified time period. He said that the question was on the Muzzaffarnagar incident which doesn't fall in the three-year ambit on which the question was raised.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked Narendra Modi to come to the House and respond to the Opposition's queries regarding the controversy surrounding the US President's comments on the Kashmir issue.

There is a ruckus in Lok Sabha as Opposition MPs continue to protest in the Lower Huse seeking a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on the statement of US President Donald Trump on Kashmir.

A day after the Lok Sabha passed amendments to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, social activist Anna Hazare accused the Union government of betraying Indian citizens through the move. "It is expected that while drafting legislation, the government take the opinion of citizens. If the draft and the Act are both made only by the government, then it is not a democracy but a dictatorship," Hazare said.

Rajya Sabha MPs from the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday gave Zero Hour notices in the Upper House of the Parliament over various issues. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has given the notice in Rajya Sabha over "delay in the production of Vande Bharat Express".

PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway gave Zero Hour Notice in the Upper House over "problems of Jammu and Kashmir migrants" while Congres MP Ripun Bora gave the notice over the revival of Jagiroad and Panchgram Paper Mill under Hindustan paper corporation.

The Zero Hour refers to the time immediately following the Question Hour in both the Houses of Parliament. During this hour, parliamentarians can raise matters of great importance without the mandatory ten days advance notice.

The first session of Rajya Sabha after the formation of the new government in May commenced on 20 June and will culminate on 26 July.

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