New Delhi: Seventeen opposition parties wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman on Friday raising concerns over the “hurried” passage of Bills in parliament without any scrutiny, and said that this was a departure from established practice.
The letter signed by leaders of 17 parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Communist party of India and the CPI(M), urged Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to ensure that the voice of the opposition is not “smothered”.
“We, the undersigned parties, wish to register our anguish and serious concern over the manner in which the government is hurriedly passing legislations without any scrutiny by Parliamentary Standing or Select Committees. This is a fundamental departure from the established practice and healthy traditions of enacting legislations,” the letter said.
It said that in the 14th Lok Sabha, 60% of the Bills were sent for scrutiny to parliamentary committees, while in the 15th Lok Sabha, 71% of Bills were sent for scrutiny.
However, the letter said, in the 16th Lok Sabha, only 26% of Bills were sent for scrutiny.
“Now, in the 17th Lok Sabha, 14 Bills have already been passed in the first session. None of these Bills have been referred to a Standing Committee or Select Committee for legislative scrutiny.
“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 stated.
The parties also asked Naidu, the vice president, to intervene in the matter.
The letter said the ongoing Lok Sabha session has the “dubious” record of passing 14 Bills, none of which have been scrutinised by any parliamentary committee.
Further, 11 more Bills have been listed for introduction, consideration and passing, it said.
The parties said that the first sessions of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha had about ten sittings each and during that time, only a handful of Bills that had undergone parliamentary scrutiny, were passed.
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 Rajya Sabha. 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.