The winter session of Parliament saw the opposition targeting the government on a number of issues, including the triple talaq bill, which could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha despite strenuous efforts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).The government was, however, able to push some of its legislative agenda during the session, which had got delayed due to the Gujarat Assembly elections.The session concluded on a note of confrontation over the triple talaq bill, with a joint opposition insisting that it should be sent to a select committee to address its "shortcomings".The opposition also attacked the government on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat polls, the violence in Maharashtra and Minister of State for Skill Development Anant Kumar Hegde's remarks concerning the Constitution.
The opposition raised the terror incident in Kashmir, in which five CRPF personnel were killed, also raised concerns over the first National Register of Citizens draft in Assam, which had several prominent names missing.Apart from the triple talaq bill, which is set to be taken up in the budget session beginning January 29, another priority bill for the government -- on granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes -- could not be passed in the winter session.The session, which began on December 15, had 13 sittings over 22 days. The productivity of Lok Sabha was 91.58 per cent and that of Rajya Sabha 56.29 per cent.The Lok Sabha saw introduction of 14 bills, out of which 13 were passed. The Rajya Sabha passed nine bills. PRS Legislative Research, which tracks the functioning of Parliament, said the winter session was the shortest since 2009, but a large proportion of time was spent on legislative business -- the highest since 2014. However, discussions on general topics were the lowest since 2014, and fewer bills were sent to House committees.
Trina Roy, Program Officer of the PRS Legislative Research, said fewer bills being referred to committees raises a question "if there is adequate scrutiny before the laws are enacted"."At the beginning of the session, the government had announced an extensive legislative agenda of around 39 bills to be passed, but only 10 of these were cleared. Fifteen new bills were also brought in by the government and only one of them was sent to a committee," Roy told IANS.The Lok Sabha saw an engaging discussion on the bill related to hiking salaries of judges of Supreme Court and high courts, with several members complaining of encroachment upon the legislature's powers by the judiciary.The session saw passage of the second and third batches of supplementary demands for grants -- Rs 66,113 crore and Rs 80,000 crore, respectively -- as also the related appropriation bills by the Lok Sabha.
The bills will be deemed to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.Three bills replacing ordinances -- Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill -- were passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill on GST will also be deemed to be passed by the Rajya Sabha as it is a money bill.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement during the session on the visit of mother and wife of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to Pakistan and accused the neighbouring country of committing serious and gross violation of human rights of the family members.The External Affairs Minister Sushma also accused Pakistan of creating an intimidating atmosphere for his wife and mother.
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu made a statement on the "India's stand at WTO". Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar termed the session as "successful" and blamed the Congress for not allowing passage of the triple talaq bill."We hope the Congress will understand the public opinion on the issue, reconsider their stand and pass it in the budget session. There is anger among people on this issue," Kumar told reporters.Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the Modi government of "misleading" Muslim women on the bill that seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq.