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  • Aditi Phadnis - Political Editor, Business Standard

    Aditi Phadnis

    Political Editor, Business Standard

    DATE: December 24, 2015, 12:00 PM

    SUBJECT: Assessing the winter session of Parliament

    POLITICS

CHAT CLOSED. READ TRANSCRIPT BELOW

  • MODERATOR:

    Hello and welcome to a chat with Aditi Phadnis assessing the winter session of Parliament, which ended yesterday


    ADITI PHADNIS:

    Hello everyone


  • A

    ARUN

    Three Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday without any discussion. The House did not function during the last two weeks because of continuous disruptions. How do you see this trend of passing Bills without discussions at the end of the session? Doesn't it affect the credibility of the House, particularly at a time when some people are arguing that the Rajya Sabha should be done away with?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    The Rajya Sabha should be done away with, simply because the government does not have a majority there and does not have the skill to overcome this hurdle? Isn't that too drastic, especially as constitutionmakers had a role in mind for the Rajya Sabha ? Yes, if there is consensus that bills should be passed, they should be passed: discussion is a hindrance if everyone agrees !


  • B

    BHUMISH KHUDKHUDIA

    What are the possibilities of the government calling a special session of Parliament to pass the GST Bill?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    A special session of Parliament is called only when there is unanimous support around an event or issue: like the 125th anniversary of Dr Ambedkar. A JOINT sitting of the two houses can be called if a bill that has been cleared by one House is rejected by another House. That hasn't happened on GST. So neither is within the realm of possibility yet.


  • B

    B.V.SHENOY

    Why do you think is the media uncritically accepting the Congress party's stonewalling of Parliament?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    Not at all. The media is interrogating the Congress at every available stage. And I don't think anyone is convinced by the Congress's answers....


  • T

    THE KEWAL KHANNA

    Again, Parliament's winter session, too, was a near-washout? What do you think does the world think of a "functional" Indian democracy?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    the washout of one or two sessions of Parliament is no judgment on Indian democracy: consider what is happening in democracies in our neighbourhood ! I am intensely proud of our democracy and don't think disruption of the Upper House is a sign of failure. I don't think the world thinks so either !


  • V

    VIVEK

    The juvenile justice Bill remained pending for three years, and there was a hurry to pass it in one day, suddenly. How do you see this haste?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    Like you and me, MPs too are influenced by their surroundings. There have been many instances when bills have been passed suddenly and in haste because of compelling circumstances - like the POTA for instance. While I agree that the bill would have benefited from a detailed discussion because it has some provisions that make us all uneasy, sometimes, haste is necessary...


  • A

    ARYAN PRASHAR

    The Rajya Sabha's productivity in this session dropped to 46 per cent, according to reports. In this context, what do you think of the reforms proposed by BJD MP Baijayant Panda? Mr Panda has argued that the Rajya Sabha cannot be allowed to have a "veto" power on legislative business. Is this a wise suggestion, or will it take us down a dangerous path?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    I don't agree with Mr Panda. The Rajya Sabha needs to be a countervailing force and it was visualized as such by those who drafted the constitution. When everyone agrees with everyone, no one thinks very much....


  • S

    SUMA C V

    How effective do you think will the juvenile law be? What is your opinion on the new legislation and its effect on juveniles?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    It is hard to assess the impact. Children today are become adult-like much faster. And there is so much to buy, so much to savour... but at the same time, in their thinking and responses they are still children. Eastern societies like ours have the added burden of needing to create families which can be quite oppressive sometimes. So basically society is changing and children are changing with it. We all lament loss of childhood. But I think we have to come to terms with the reality. That said, it is hard to see how the bill will change anything. My only fervent prayer is that it should not make society less compassionate...


  • P

    PIYA

    The juvenile justice Bill was passed in haste. Do you believe it was a decision made for public appeasement or was it a well-thought-out decision by Parliament?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    A bit of both. We should not judge the bill by the haste in which it was passed but by the quality of the legislation. The bill is just a set of rules. How they will be implemented is the issue...


  • S

    SUMA C V

    How would you compare the quality of Parliament's functionality during the UPA govt's time and the present one? Do you think there is a drastic change in productivity, mainly in the Rajya Sabha?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    I am not in doubt about the quality of decisions taken by Parliament - I think the two houses no matter how dysfunction sometimes, represent the will of India. Frankly, I see little difference between the last two years of UPA II and the current phase. But I do believe, the government needs to show more skill in getting around those who disrupt. We saw a flash of that skill on the issue of the Mining ordinance... need to see more of it...


  • M

    MANISH

    The Congress' policy of obstructing Parliament seems to be driven by the opinion that BJP did the same and got electoral gains. Do you think that they are right in thinking that?

    ADITI PHADNIS

    The Congress is letting people know that it is opposed to almost everything the BJP is doing - in addition, it is raising issues that it feels the BJP is neglecting or ignoring. This is the role of the opposition. As for electoral gains - that has less to do with Parliament and more to do with many other things like caste combinations, the role of the state governments, etc.


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