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3 minutes in LS, 9 in RS: Centre pushes farm laws repeal Bill ignoring Opposition demand for debate

The run-up to the introduction of the Bill witnessed the government and Opposition crossing swords in the meetings of Business Advisory Committees
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 14:44 IST
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 14:44 IST
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 14:44 IST
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 14:44 IST

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It took just three minutes in Lok Sabha and nine minutes in Rajya Sabha to pass the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 on Monday, as the government refused the demand of the Opposition to hold debates in both Houses before clearing the proposed legislation.

The run-up to the introduction of the Bill witnessed the government and Opposition crossing swords in the meetings of Business Advisory Committees (BAC) of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over the demand for discussion.

Sources said the government was adamant on pushing the Bill and the ministers told the Opposition leaders during the BAC meetings that there was no provision to discuss bills to repeal laws while the Opposition members cited instances where such Bills were discussed like that of MISA and POTA.

A senior minister, sources said, is also learnt to have said that it was "unnecessary" discussing the repeal Bill, which was strongly countered by Opposition MPs.

Interestingly, sources said, the BAC of Rajya Sabha had not taken any decision to bring the Bill in the House on Monday itself as the differences persisted over the issue of discussion.

Sources said Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not take any decision on taking up the Bill in Rajya Sabha after it was passed in Lok Sabha. However, the government later decided to bring the Bill in Rajya Sabha after it was passed in Lok Sabha.

"When there is no disagreement on repealing the Bill, when no new information is coming out, what is the need for debate. When there is no tangible action coming out of the exercise, why is there a need for debate," a senior Union Minister told DH. He said this was conveyed during the BAC meetings.

However, the Opposition MPs who participated in the meeting countered it. One of the MPs quoted former Rajya Sabha Chairman S Radhakrishnan, who became President later, to say that the scope of discussion should never be limited whether it was passing the Bill or repealing the Bill.

Opposition leaders were of the view that the government did not want to give a handle to them by allowing a debate as they would have raised the demand for legislative backing for Minimum Support Price and sacking of Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra who is linked to the Lakhimpur Kheri killings among others.

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters that the government did not want a discussion as it did not want reference to Lakhimpur Kheri incidents and other issues. "It is not that the repeal bills were not discussed in Parliament. There are at least 17 such Bills in which there were debates," he said.

Citing some instances, he said The Prevention of Terrorism (Repeal) Bill was discussed n Lok Sabha in December 2004 together with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill for 5:20 hours. He also referred to The Gold (Control ) Repeal Bill which was discussed in Lok Sabha in May 1990 for around 52 minutes.

The bill to repeal the controversial Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) was discussed in Lok Sabha in July 1978 for 4:24 hours, he said.

TRS Rajya Sabha floor leader K Keshava Rao told DH that there were instances even during the Narendra Modi government when discussions were held during repealing laws.

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Published 29 November 2021, 14:44 IST

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