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Thursday 9 July 2020

Pro-middle class, pro-trader bills passed amid din in Parl

One of the bills notifies the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the Union government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law; the other proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages in case of a breach of the contract

New Delhi: Relentless protests by opposition and other parties again disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha today but the government managed to get two bills passed amid the din.

The government pushed two bills — The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill — for passage amid this din and the House passed them with a voice vote.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill was an important piece of legislation as he sought the opposition’s cooperation.

The Bill notifies the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the central government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law.

Moving the bill for passage, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said it is a very important legislation for employees, especially women.

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract and to reduce the discretion of courts in such matters.

The proceedings of House were paralysed for the ninth consecutive day as opposition parties besides the TRS and the TDP, which is a member of the ruling NDA, stormed the Well as soon as it met and continued with their noisy protests over a number of issues, including the PNB scam, special status for Andhra and increase of quota.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan first adjourned the House till noon and then for the day.

Indian National Congress (INC) leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose party members were also in the Well, sought a discussion on the bills. His specific objections to the bills could not be heard. However, a debate on the bills would certainly have delayed their passage indefinitely.

With continuous protests by different parties making the prospect of any discussion improbable, the Speaker went ahead with the proceedings for the passage of bills.

Earlier, as soon as the Speaker took up the Question Hour, members from various parties trooped into the Well holding placards.

When Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav was responding to the first question on rural housing, the protesting members raised their pitch, drowning his voice.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar urged the members of the opposition parties, including the INC, to return to their seats and allow the House to function.

He said Parliament is the ‘maha panchayat‘ of the country where issues are discussed but the disruptions are not allowing important issues to be raised.

He also thanked the Speaker for trying to ensure smooth functioning. He said the government is open to discuss issues including bank scam, Cauvery water management board and special status for Andhra Pradesh, but the House has to function first and members have to vacate the Well.

As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 12 noon minutes before it was adjourned till tomorrow.

While members of the INC, TMC, TDP, YSR Congress and TRS were in the Well raising slogans and holding placards, MPs from the Left were standing at their seats and shouting slogans.

Since March 5, when Parliament had met after a recess, the Lok Sabha has seen disruptions on a daily basis. Amid the din, the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills were yesterday passed by the House without discussion.

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