Oppn protest in LS alleging govt rushing Bills through

Speaker Om Birla assured the Opposition MPs that he would make ensure that during the next session of the Lok Sabha, all members get enough time to study the Bills before they are introduced in the House.

The Congress and other Opposition parties protested in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, alleging that the government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, was rushing several proposed legislations through without giving members enough time to study them.

Speaker Om Birla later assured the Opposition MPs that he would make ensure that during the next session of the Lok Sabha, all members get enough time to study the Bills before they are introduced in the House.

The government on Thursday introduced the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha. Both the Bills were introduced in the erstwhile 16th Lok Sabha but lapsed with its dissolution. The Government also introduced the Repealing and Amending Bill 2019 to do away with 58 old and obsolete laws.

T R Baalu of the Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam, Adhir Chowdhury and Shashi Tharoor of the Congress and Sougata Roy and Kalyan Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, along with several other Opposition MPs, opposed the introduction of the Bills.

The Water Disputes Bill introduced in the LS on Thursday seeks to set up a single tribunal with different benches, instead of multiple tribunals as provided by the existing act. It also seeks to set strict timelines for adjudication in inter-state disputes over sharing of river water.

“The Central Government is just bringing everything overnight without consulting the State governments. We do not know anything. They are just bulldozing everything day in, day out. We would only know about them in the morning when we go through the parliamentary papers,” Baalu said, opposing the introduction of the Bill.

Chowdhury, the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, and B Mahtab of the Biju Janata Dal, opposed the introduction of the Bill, saying that the Union Government had not consulted the State Governments.

“I do regret to oppose it because we all support the objective of repealing the enactments. But the fact is, this government has got a very bad habit of rushing Bills through without enough time for the MPs to have a look at them,” Tharoor said, opposing the introduction of the Bill. He said that the copies of the Bill had been circulated among the MPs only on Wednesday night, while some had received it on Thursday morning.

Chowdhury also protested when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved to introduce the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the House. Roy requested Lok Sabha Speaker to defer its introduction, as the MPs had not even got an opportunity to give notice to oppose the Bill.

Birla said that he would try to ensure that during the next session of the Lok Sabha, all the MPs would get copies of the Bills at least two days before introduction of the proposed legislations in the House.

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