- Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called for a wider debate on the provision of lapsing of bills in the Parliament.
- There was a wide gap between the number of bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, especially when compared to the 15th Lok Sabha.
- Further, the Parliament loses a lot of time in disruptive expression of adversarial positions.
Background: Delays caused due to Rajya Sabha in passing legislations
Lapsing of Bills due to pendency in Rajya Sabha:
- With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, as many as 22 bills, passed by Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha, had lapsed. Important bills like the land acquisition bill, Triple talaq bill, Aadhaar amendment bill and Motor vehicles bill have lapsed in the process.
- In effect, the Lok Sabha has to take up these 22 bills again for consideration and passing, which would take a minimum of two sessions. The efforts of the Lok Sabha for passing these 22 bills have been rendered waste.
- At the end of the last and the 248th session of Rajya Sabha, a total of 55 bills were pending consideration in the house. After lapsing of 22 bills, the pendency in this house stands at 33.
Long pending bills in Rajya Sabha
- In Rajya Sabha, three bills are pending for more than 20 years, six bills are pending between 10-20 years, 14 bills are pending between 5-10 years and 10 bills are pending for less than 5 years.
- The oldest bill pending in the Rajya Sabha is the Indian Medical Council Bill, which has not been passed for 32 years.
Constitutional Provisions on what happens to bills in case of Lok Sabha dissolution
- Certain bills lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, Article 107 and 108 of the Constitution deal with these provisions
- Situations when a bill lapses
- A bill originating in Lok Sabha and pending in Lok Sabha, lapses
- A bill originating in Lok Sabha and passed in Lok Sabha but pending in Rajya Sabha, lapses.
- A bill originating in Rajya Sabha and passed in Rajya Sabha but pending in Lok Sabha, lapses.
- A bill originating in Rajya Sabha and returned by Lok Sabha with amendments and is pending in Rajya Sabha, lapses.
- Situations when a bill does not lapse
- A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
- A bill passed by both the houses but is pending the President’s assent, does not lapse.
- If the President has called for a joint sitting of the two houses for the discussion of the bill, the bill does not lapse.
- A bill returned by the President for reconsideration, does not lapse.
Vice President’s proposals
- The Vice President noted that pendency of crucial legislations and lapsing of bills on dissolution of the Lok Sabha, leads to a substantial loss of functional time and results in very low productivity.
- He has called for a debate on the rule that provides for automatic lapsing of any bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha with the dissolution of the lower house of Parliament.
- Further, in order to streamline the process, he suggested that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction of such bills, such pending bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed.
- Expressing concern over loss of time due to disruptions, he said that the present dysfunctional, disruptive environment must change and further weakening of democratic structures should stop.
- He called upon all stakeholders to follow the path of consensus building and search for a meeting ground or the zone of convergence rather than expanding the zone of divergence.