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Monsoon Session ends: Triple Talaq Bill fails to see the light of day, but session 'most productive' for Lok Sabha in 18 years

Even though the contentious Triple Talaq Bill failed to see the light of day in Rajya Sabha, the Monsoon Session proved to be the "most productive" for Lok Sabha since last 2000, according to a think tank.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: August 11, 2018 8:14 IST ]

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With twists and turns on display, the Monsoon session of Parliament came to an end today after 17 sittings for 112 hours, during which 22 bills were introduced and 21 got passed. Even though the contentious Triple Talaq Bill failed to see the light of day in Rajya Sabha, the Monsoon Session proved to be the "most productive" for Lok Sabha since 2000, according to a think tank. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too said the session has been 'more productive and satisfactory' than the previous Budget Session and last year's Monsoon Session.

Know why this Monsoon session was the 'most productive' for Lok Sabha in 18 years

According to the data compiled by PRS Legislative Research, 20 bills were introduced during the session and 12 were passed. Giving out details, it said the Lok Sabha worked for 110 per cent of the scheduled hours and the Rajya Sabha for 66 per cent. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha spent 50 per cent and 48 per cent of their time on legislative business respectively, the data said. This, the PRS Legislative Research data said, is the highest by both Houses in the 16th Lok Sabha and second highest since 2004. The data further stated that fewer bills, accounting to 26 per cent, were referred to parliamentary committees, as compared to the 15th Lok Sabha (71 per cent) and the 14th Lok Sabha (60 per cent). This Monsoon session also had one of the most productive Question Hours of the 16th Lok Sabha.The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha functioned for 84 per cent and 68 per cent of their scheduled Question Hour time respectively, the data said. The highest number of 999 Private Member Bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha since 2000, the think tank said. In the 16th Lok Sabha, the highest number of government Bills were introduced by the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In the 15th Lok Sabha, the highest number of Bills were introduced by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice. 

Triple Talaq Bill misses date with Rajya Sabha again

The contentious Triple Talaq Bill which criminalises the practice of instant "talaq" could not be taken up for discussion and passage on the last day of Monsoon session, owing to lack of consensus among political parties on the issue.

The Congress-led Opposition has been demanding that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 be sent to a Select Committee for further scrutiny. The BJP-led government, which does not have a majority in the Upper House, had also made efforts to get the bill cleared in the Budget Session also. The Union Cabinet had on August 9 cleared some amendments to the draft Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)
Bill, 2017 bill, including adding a bail provision to it.The amendments came after the Supreme Court on August 22 last year had struck down 'triple talaq', calling unconstitutional. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in December. However, amendments to the draft legislation, once cleared by the Rajya Sabha, will again be sent to the Lower House for passage.

Here is a list of crucial bills passed in Parliament this Monsoon Session

1. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill

A bill to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016, allowing home buyers to be treated as financial creditors and seeking to set up a special dispensation for small sector enterprises, was passed by the Parliament. The bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on July 31, was approved in the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. The legislation seeks to replace the June 6 ordinance that sought to put these amendments into force to aid quick  resolution of several bankrupt firms.

2. Bill on OBC panel's constitutional status

The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill as passed by the Lok Sabha to give a constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. Earlier, the upper House had made some amendments to the bill passed by the Lok Sabha and sent it back to the lower House of Parliament. The Lok Sabha, in a rare gesture, adopted the "amendment alternative to the amendment made by the Rajya Sabha" and passed the bill. The bill seeks to grant NCBC the constitutional status on par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

3. Bill to restore SC/ST Act

The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, which seeks to overturn a Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for immediate arrest of the accused booked under the Act. Since the Lok Sabha has already passed the bill, it is set to become a law following the President's assent. The bill provides that an Investigating Officer will not require the approval of any authority for the arrest of the accused booked under the SC/ST Act. Further, it provides that a preliminary inquiry will not be required for the registration of an FIR against those accused under the Act.

4. Bill enabling NRIs to appoint proxy to cast vote

The Lok Sabha passed a bill that proposes to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to enable the overseas electors to appoint proxies to cast their votes in the elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The bill proposes to amend section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to enable the overseas electors to appoint a proxy to cast the vote in an election on their behalf, subject to certain conditions to be laid down. According to a UN survey, India's diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million people from the country living in 2015. The bill also proposes changes in the Acts to make provisions gender neutral and replace the term wife with spouse.

5. Economic Offenders Bill

Parliament passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, that provides for measures to deter absconding economic outlaws from evading prosecution by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, with the Rajya Sabha's nod to the law. The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill last week and it is now set to become a law following President's assent. The Bill says a person can be declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if an arrest warrant has been issued against him for an offence where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will be the implementing and executing agency for this law.

Monsoon Session: Other important bills passed in Parliament

The other important bills passed by the House include the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill and Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill. The House also discussed the supplementary demands for grants (general) and demands for excess grants (general) for 2015-16 and the approved the relevant appropriation bills.

Highlights of Monsoon Session 2018: From Rahul hugging PM Modi to Congress embarrasment over no-confidence motion, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election

The no-trust motion against the government, a first in 15 years, was defeated by a huge margin after a marathon 12-hour-long debate during which 39 MPs spoke. A total of 325 MPs opposed while 126 MPs supported the no trust motion moved by the TDP, a former BJP ally. While the debate meandered through a range of topics, the BJP tried its best to make it a launchpad for its 2019 general elections. 

During the session, Rahul Gandhi attempted to stun and surprise PM Modi and the ruling BJP by carrying out a 'never-seen-before' act in the House. Rahul walked towards PM Modi's bench, shook hands and hugged him taking the PM by surprise. PM Modi then returned the gesture by patting the Congress president's back. Rahul Gandhi was then caught by cameras winking at one of his fellow MPs. The act not only earned him the wrath of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan but also intense criticism from the BJP and other allies of the ruling NDA. 

Before the 'hugging' theatrics, Rahul Gandhi levelled serious allegations against the Modi government. The Congress leader raised several issues, including the Rafale fighter jet deal. He accused the government of "lying" to the nation on the issue of sharing details of the Rafale jet deal and described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a 'bhagidaar' (collaborator) in cases of alleged corruption, not a 'chowkidaar' (guard).

Responding to the no-trust motion debate, PM Modi came down severely on the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. In his nearly 2-hour-long speech, PM Modi described Rahul's act as 'childish'. He highlighted that the floor test was more of a 'force' test by the Congress, which is trying to stitch in a grand alliance to take on the BJP-led NDA in 2019.

Later, the Congress party faced yet another embarrasment in the face of elections for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman's post when NDA nominee Harivansh won the poll with 125 votes. The Opposition's candidate BK Hariprasad secured 105 votes. Harivansh, who is a first time MP from JDU, hails from Jharkhand and is a journalist by profession. 

It was a closely contested battle between the two parliamentarians as the arithmetic polls remained dynamic till the last moment with parties like YSRCP, BJP, PDP keeping the mystery alive into small hours. The post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman had been lying vacant since the retirement of PJ Kurien on July 1.

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