The government on Wednesday declared the agenda for the upcoming special session of Parliament. And at the top of the list is a discussion on Parliament’s history.
“Members are informed that on 18 September, 2023, besides other formal business like laying of papers, etc, a Discussion will be held on the subject ‘Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings’,” a Parliament bulletin reads.
This is important, given the fact that the government has hinted that during the special session, everyone would move from the old Parliament building of the British era to the new one, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28, 2023.
Apart from this, the government has listed five bills for passage during the upcoming five-day session.
The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023: There was huge opposition to this bill by opposition parties, suggesting that the government was trying to control the functioning of all independent institutions. This bill was introduced in the previous monsoon session of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, despite severe opposition from the other side. The bill proposes that a three-member committee led by the Prime Minister will be responsible for appointing future chief election commissioners and election commissioners. The panel is slated to have three members: the Prime Minister, a cabinet minister nominated by the PM, and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.
On the claims that this bill will give more power to the government with a 2:1 majority, the government has said that the Prime Minister represents the country and that despite the opposition not having an LoP in the Lok Sabha, the courtesy has been extended to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury who was invited to be a part of the panel.
The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023: The bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3, was laid on the table of the Lok Sabha on August 4. It proposes regulation of the legal profession by only the Advocates Act, 1961 and repeals the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, while retaining a provision dealing with touts in courts.
The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023: This bill too was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on August 3, and was laid on the table of Lok Sabha on August 4. The government says it will lead to ease of doing business for media and publishing companies, simplify the process of registration, and decriminalise several colonial-era penal provisions.
The Post Office Bill, 2023: It was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 10. It is in consideration and after being passed by the Rajya Sabha, it will be laid on the table of the Lok Sabha. It repeals the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, and provides for matters related to the functioning of the Post Office, an undertaking of the central government (also known as India Post).
The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023: The Rajya Sabha has also listed this bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha. It seeks to repeal 65 laws that are obsolete or that have been made redundant by other laws. It also corrects a minor drafting error in the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.
The government about a fortnight ago made an announcement for the special session of Parliament to be held from September 18-22, triggering a wave of speculation among the opposition and in the media about the agenda.
On August 31, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi made that announcement on social media site X.
On Wednesday, the government also declared that there will be an all-party meeting in Parliament the evening before the session begins.
The government is likely to move from the old to the new Parliament building on September 19, which marks Ganesh Chaturthi, an auspicious occasion.
During the upcoming five-day special session, there will be no Question Hour or Zero Hour.
With inputs from News18