Parliament session starts today amid speculation on surprise bill. What's on the cards?

Sep 18, 2023 08:03 AM IST

The Parliament session will begin with discussions on the parliamentary journey of 75 years.

A session of Parliament is set to begin Monday amid intense speculation on whether the government will spring up a surprise during the five-day sitting. On the first day of the parliament session, both houses will hold a discussion on the parliamentary journey of 75 years starting from the constituent assembly. The discussion will include achievements, experiences, memories and learnings in the 75 years of the parliamentary journey.

The discussion on the parliamentary journey will be held simultaneously in both the Houses. (HT Archive)
The discussion on the parliamentary journey will be held simultaneously in both the Houses. (HT Archive)

Tentative list of legislative business

The government has also provided a tentative list of legislative business to be taken up during the session, including a bill that seeks to exclude the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the panel to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). The bill also seeks to put service conditions of the CEC and two ECs on par with the cabinet secretary and not a Supreme Court judge, as is the case now.

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Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, in charge of communications, has made it clear that the opposition INDIA bloc will “steadfastly oppose the insidious” bill.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said a total of eight bills have been listed for consideration and passage during the session.

According to a recent parliamentary bulletin, bills that will be taken up for consideration and passage include The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, and The Post Office Bill, 2023, among others.

At an all-party meeting on the eve of the session, floor leaders were informed that a bill on the welfare of senior citizens and three related to the SC/ST order have been added to the agenda.

The unusual timing of the session has left everyone speculating about the legislative business as the government enjoys the prerogative of tabling in Parliament some new legislation or other items that might not have been part of the listed agenda.

Commenting on the listed agenda, Jairam Ramesh said it “is much ado about nothing” and all this could have waited till the Winter session in November.”

the government was hiding the actual intention behind calling the session and would be "unleashed at the last moment”.

“I am sure the legislative grenades are being kept up their sleeves to be unleashed at the last moment as usual. Parde ke peeche kuch aur hai!” he said in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter).

Demand for women's reservation bill

Though there is no official word on any probable new legislation, several parties have demanded reviving the women's reservation bill, with the Congress even passing a resolution for it at its Hyderabad Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday. Asked about the government's stand on the demands, Joshi said the government will take "an appropriate decision at an appropriate time".

The session will move to the new Parliament building after a ceremony at the Central Hall of the existing building, According to a Lok Sabha bulletin, the function will commemorate the rich legacy of the Parliament of India and resolve to make Bharat a developed nation by 2047.

Not special session

While announcing the session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Joshi had described it as "special session". But the government had later made it clear that it was a regular session, 13th session of the present Lok Sabha and 261st session of Rajya Sabha.

Usually, Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions of Parliament are held every year.

The Monsoon session was held in July-August while the Winter session is due in November-December.

The Budget session has a fixed time of commencement from January end of every year.

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