Senior ministers in the Narendra Modi government said on Monday it might take the ordinance route for the insurance and coal mines Bills as the Opposition, stronger in the Rajya Sabha, has been refusing to cooperate with the government in the winter session until it makes a statement on the religious conversion issue. Since Parliament is still in session, the government refrained from making an official statement but the ministers said there were ample “precedents by the Congress governments in the past” of Bills being pushed through the ordinance route. The winter session concludes on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Modi is believed to have taken a stock-taking meeting on Monday and the Cabinet committee on Parliamentary affairs is likely to meet on Tuesday morning.
To the Opposition’s argument that the insurance Bill was a property of the House, a senior minister shot back, “It is the property of the people.” P D T Achary, former secretary-general of Lok Sabha, told Business Standard, “It is not illegal to promulgate an ordinance when a Bill is pending before the House or even before a committee of the House.” He cited the example of the National Commission of Minority Educational Institutions Amendment Ordinance the Congress-led United Progress Alliance promulgated in 2006, when it was before the Rajya Sabha.
Ordinances are temporary laws issued by the president on the Union Cabinet’s advice when Parliament is not in session, allowing governments to take immediate legislative action. The ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament doesn’t approve these in six weeks of reassembly or disapproving resolutions are passed by both the Houses. However, these can also be repromulgated. Moreover, a session of Parliament must be held in six months of passing an ordinance.
The Opposition will only be making a concession for the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Bill, 2014. Cleared by the Lok Sabha, the Bill that gives protection to unauthorised constructions in the national capital needs to be passed by December 31. Given impending elections, the Opposition parties are likely to help this Bill get passed on Tuesday, making it the only business transacted in the Rajya Sabha in this session.
|THROUGH THE BACK DOOR|
ORDINANCES PROMULGATED IN 16TH LOK SABHA
ORDINANCES RE-PROMULGATED DURING 15TH LOK SABHA (2009-2014) UNDER UPA-II
Meantime, political parties, including Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal, that constituted the erstwhile Janata Parivar blamed the government for having failed to bring back black money. And not just the Rajya Sabha, even the Lok Sabha saw disruptions over the religious conversion issue. There is little hope of matters improving in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the winter session.