New Delhi: Seventeen Opposition parties wrote to Rajya Sabha chairman, M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday, raising concerns over the “hurried” passage of bills in Parliament without any scrutiny.
The parties said that 14 bills had been passed in the current Lok Sabha with barely a second look. “Public consultation is a long-established practice where parliamentary committees scrutinise bills, deliberate, engage and work towards improving the content and quality of the legislation,” the letter signed by the Congress Samajwadi Party, Trinamul Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party and Left organisations, among others, said.
The political parties pointed out that the first session of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha had about 10 sittings each, during which only a handful of bills that had undergone parliamentary scrutiny were passed.
“However, the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha has had 30 sittings, and a dubious record was set during this period: 14 bills have been passed with none having been scrutinised by any parliamentary committee,” the letter said, adding that 11 more bills have been listed for introduction, consideration and passage.
The Opposition parties also demanded that short duration appeals should be allowed in the House.
“We urge you to ensure that the voice of the Opposition is not smothered in the RS. While we understand our responsibility and the need to enact legislation, any attempt by the government to undermine the privileges of members, the rules and established conventions will diminish the role of the Council of States as envisaged by our founding fathers,” the letter stated.
The BJP-led NDA has 352 seats in the Lok Sabha, while the Congress and its allies have just 91. Although the NDA does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha yet with just 99 members, the coalition is likely to secure it by 2021. In the last couple of days in Rajya Sabha the opposition members had demanded that several important legislations to be sent to a select committee.