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Winter Session: Govt, Opposition divide widens as key Bills rushed without debate

Notably, on eight days no questions were answered orally in Rajya Sabha. In Lok Sabha, Question Hour was not held for two days.   

Shashank Shantanu Written by: Shashank Shantanu @shashankdzire
New Delhi Published on: December 23, 2021 15:46 IST
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Image Source : PTI

Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs stage a protest near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi demanding revocation of their suspension, at Parliament House premises.

The Winter Session of Parliament concluded a day ahead of schedule on December 22 (Wednesday). Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die, bringing an end to the session that witnessed continuous protests by the Opposition over multiple issues. The Government has projected the Session as a success with Lok Sabha clocking 82 per cent productivity and Rajya Sabha 48 per cent, but questions are being raised over rushing its strategy of rushing Bills without debates or prior notice.   

Uproarious scenes were witnessed in both the Houses starting Day one of the Winter Session, and things went haywire after 12 Rajya Sabha MPs were suspeneded for their 'unruly' conduct in the previous session in August. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien joined the list of suspended leaders on December 21 when he was barred for the rest of session for allegedly throwing rule book towards the Chair. 

ALSO READ: Congress 'unable to digest' mandate of 2019: Govt slams Oppn for disruptions during Winter Session

Govt, Opposition refuse to budge

The Parliament session will be remembered as one that saw the  relationship between the BJP-led NDA and Opposition nose diving further. While the Government reiterated that it is open for discussion on every topic on floor of both Houses, the Opposition accused the treasury benches. Amid the cacophony, several Bills of huge importance were passed without any discussion or debate. 

Both the Congress and Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress accused the government of 'manufacturing majority' in the Rajya Sabha by suspending Opposition members in contravention of the rules to get key legislations passed in the din and without a discussion.

ALSO READ: Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien suspended for rest of Winter Session over 'unruly behaviour'

No Debate on Major Bills

Amid continous protests by the Opposition, the Government rushed through several immensely important Bills without any discussion or debate. A Bill to link electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem was passed by Parliament on December 21 with the Rajya Sabha approving it amid a walkout by the Opposition and high drama when Derek O'Brien flung a rulebook after which the TMC MP was suspended from the House. Rajya Sabha approved this Bill by voice vote. 

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Image Source : PTI

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, opposition leaders along with suspended MPs read the Preamble to the Constitution of India and recite the national anthem to protest against the suspension of MPs during the Winter Session of Parliament.

Union Minister Smriti Irani introduced a Bill in Lok Sabha that seeks to a uniform age of marriage for men and women. The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021 that seeks to increase the legal minimum age for women to marry to 21 years was referred to a Parliamentary Panel for detailed scrutiny amid pandemonium. 

Notably, on eight days no questions were answered orally in Rajya Sabha. In Lok Sabha, Question Hour was not held for two days. 

The Winter Session will go into the history books as one of the most acrimonious in recent years. Now, it remains to be seen if the Budget Session will be any different.