‘Passing Bills or Delivering Pizzas?’: TMC’s O’Brien Slams Govt

Derek O’Brien attached a chart purportedly showing contrast in numbers of scrutinised bills from previous years.

Published01 Aug 2019, 03:36 AM IST
3 min read

Are we delivering pizzas or passing legislation, TMC MP Derek O'Brien wondered on Wednesday, 31 July continuing his attack on the government over the speed with which bills have been passed this Parliament session.

On Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress MP had said the way the bills were being passed amounted to a “mockery of Parliament” and was the government's way of “smothering” the Opposition.

“Parliament is supposed to scrutinise Bills. This chart explains the bulldozing this Session. Are we delivering pizzas or passing legislation?” he tweeted on Wednesday.

O'Brien also attached a chart purportedly showing the contrast in numbers – during 2004-2009, 60 percent of the total bills by Parliament were scrutinised, during 2009-2014, this went up to 71 percent, from 2014-2019 the number came down to 26 percent. In the present Lok Sabha, of the 18 bills passed, only one underwent scrutiny, bringing the number down to 5 percent, he claimed.

Opposition Hits Out at Centre

The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha hit out at the government on Wednesday, accusing it of not keeping its word on sending some bills including the triple talaq bill to the Select Committee, as suggested by them.

Raising the issue soon after Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had approached them to ask which bills they wanted to be sent to Select Committees.

Leaders of all parties wanted that at least six bills be sent to committees for further scrutiny, he said.

“I am drawing the attention of the chair...I am seeking your indulgence, we wanted that RTI bill to be sent to the Select Committee,” he said.

“You are master, you tell your people to be present and we remain under the illusion that this bill is going to the Select Committee. This is not done. This is unfair on the part of the government,” Azad said, while referring to the passage of the triple talaq bill on Tuesday.

He said the government had approached the Opposition through the parliamentary minister and he wanted to know which bills were to be sent to Select Committees.

“We gave them a list of some 23 bills and we wanted at least half of them to be sent to Select Committees. We identified as many as six bills as A-category to be sent to Select Committees, and two under B-category and the list was taken by the government,” Azad said.

O'Brien (TMC), who sought the protection of the chair, alleging that the government was pushing through legislations without scrutiny.

“We seek your protection, because we managed to attend the meeting with the government and on that understanding the government did tell us that they would revert to us on three to four bills on the seven we have listed. Monday night at 9:30 pm, taking everyone by surprise (triple talaq bill was listed),” he said.

“There is a rule and there is a convention whereby under understanding and after talking to us and find solutions for passage of bills. You don't do anything clandestinely at midnight to catch people by surprise,” he added.

O'Brien said two bills – the triple talaq bill and the UAPA bill – were on top priority of the Opposition for sending them to the Select Committee for further scrutiny.

(With inputs from PTI)

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