-Passed the Union Territories (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023
-Intense debate on Article 370 verdict
-Amit Shah reintroduced 3 Criminal laws
-Passed the supplementary demand for grants
-Passed the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023
-Opposition walked out
-Poll body is the sole authority for conducting free and fair elections in the country and thus needs to remain independent
-Bill lets the government have total executive control over the Election Commission
-Bill overturns SC verdict of March 2 which said that a high-power committee consisting of the PM, LoP in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India must pick the CEC and ECs
(As per the bill the Committee will have the PM, a cabinet member chosen by the PM and the leader of the Opposition)
"It completely negates and subjugates the Election Commission to the authority of the Executive and it does away willingly, maliciously the judgement of the Supreme Court and that is why this law is per se like a stillborn child" - Surjewala
"There was a time when the word "EC" meant "Electoral Credibility", unfortunately, "you have decided to make it 'Election Compromised' - Surjewala
"What about the silent period when the body has to be very vigilant...since there is no stringent procedure, rule or law, it is governed by EC’s actions and these actions are dependent on who is sitting on the EC body" - Aimee Yajnik
"This Bill is going to destroy one of the few remaining independent institutions in India that is the Election Commission and thereby dislodge free and fair elections from India" - Raghav Chaddha
"Government is setting a dangerous precedence as now any person can be appointed as Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner” - Sircar
What is the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, which was passed amid Opposition walkout:
-regulate the appointment, conditions of service and term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs)
-It will look after the procedure for transaction of business by the Election Commission
-Committee of PM, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Cabinet Minister nominated by the PM to select members of the Election Commission
-the members will be then selected not on unanimous decision but on majority decision of the Committee
-When it was first introduced in the House on August 10 it did not have a clause related to the appointment of the CEC and ECs
-Clause related to protection from initiation of legal proceedings against the CEC and ECs for actions taken while carrying out their duties has also been introduced
Lok Sabha passed the Union Territories (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023 through voice vote
The Lower House will resume on December 13, 11 am
BJP’s Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal expressed his support for the Women's reservation bill in UTs.
He also spoke about the abrogation of 370 and 35 A.
Key Takeaways from Namgyal's speech in Lower House -
-Ladakh is very happy with the Supreme Court’s decision
-For four years Ladakh have progressed with the Centre’s schemes.
-PoK, Aksai Chin are Ladakh's part, losing them is a Nehruvian blunder
The Rajya Sabha passed a bill to regulate the appointment and service terms of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners
-the bill was first introduced in the House on August 10
-seeks to replace the 1991 Act which did not have a clause related to the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs)
-new legislation has been necessitated as the earlier Act had certain weaknesses, said Meghawal
-Bill per the direction of the apex court judgement
-It ensures the separation of power as enshrined in the Constitution
The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, which was presented by law minister Arjun Ram Meghawal has been passed through a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha amid the Opposition walkout.
The Upper House has also adjourned for the day, and will resume on December 13 at 11 am.
Arjun Ram Meghawal who brought the the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 in Rajya Sabha while responding to the debate in the Upper House said that the bill is Constitutional and is as per the instructions provided by the Supreme Court.
'Please be democratic', while giving her party's nod to the women's reservation bill in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry, Sule posed questions on the Article 370 verdict
She asked following:
-Please explain the intricacies of Article 3
-The abrogation of Article 370 and its bifurcation in the absence of an elected government can become a precedence. How to keep a check on it?
-Investments in J&K are welcome but what about the electricity issue in the UT?
-What is the plan for restoring the statehood and holding the polls?
-What will be the process in the delimitation and the rotation in reservation in J&K?
-What is the commitment that the government is giving for the Truth Committee in J&K?
Congress MP Aimee Yajnik brought the Rajya Sabha's attention to the functions of the Election Commission during the silent period and said that the body has to be very vigilant...since there is no stringent procedure, rule or law, it is governed by EC’s actions and these actions are dependent on who is sitting on the EC body.
What is silent period?
The silent period refers to 48 hours before any election when all campaign is halted. This is done to allow voters to make informed decisions before polling.
Interrupting TMC MP Sougata Roy who urged the Centre to rethink on the revocation of Article 370 in Lok Sabha, Amit Shah said 'Founding fathers of our Constitution have included in our directive principles in our Constituent Assembly. If it was not for Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, West Bengal would have been part of East Pakistan'
Roy said that the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue has not made anyone in J&K happy and termed BJP as communal.
Quoting Home Minister Amit Shah, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury dared the Modi government to capture Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin before the next general elections.
Chowdhury also spoke about Syama Prasad Mookerjee about how he only cared about Kashmir but did not care about freedom fighting.
Shah replied, “Under whose government, did we lose them?”.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla reminded the ministers the debate is about women’s reservation in the Puducherry assembly.
Amit Shah reintroduced a fresh draft of the bills and said 'The major changes in the three bills are in 3-4 subsections. Other changes are mainly grammatical'
Shah said that a 12-hour debate will be held on the changes to the bills on Thursday and the answer will be tabled at a later date.
After discussion the Lower House passed Supplementary Demands for Grants – First Batch for 2023-2024 through voice vote.
Lok Sabha also passed payments of certain sums from the consolidated fund, Demands for Excess Grants for 2020-2021 through a voice vote
Raghav Chaddha calls the bills a 'daylight robbery for Democracy'. He said that AAP 'vehemently opposes' this bill which would make the 'mother of democracy, mockery of democracy'
'I am going to mince no words. This Bill is going to destroy one of the few remaining independent institutions in India that is the Election Commission and thereby dislodge free and fair elections from India,' Chadha said in Upper House.
The MP also adds that this Bill is disrespectful to the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India, and BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani (who has previously told the Manmohan Singh government that the ruling party should not be involved in the selection of CEC).
Sushil Modi brought the point of order in the Rajya Sabha to remind Sircar of the amendment that the government has brought in the bills.
The government has reportedly decided to retain the status of CEC and other election commissioners on par with judges of the Supreme Court.
At present, the CECs and ECs enjoy the status of a Supreme Court judge. The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August this year had proposed to bring the status of the CEC and other ECs on par with the Cabinet Secretary.
The opposition parties and some former CECs had opposed the move, saying it would go against the independence of the institution.
Note: the salary of both are the same
AITC MP Jawhar Sircar in Rajya Sabha during the debate on the bills regarding the Election Commissioner's appointment called out the "dangerous precedence" that the government was setting.
Mr. Sircar says that Clause 8 of the Bill will hurt democracy.
Sircar highlighted that the clause states that "any person can be appointed as Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner”
Responding to criticism about MNREGA allocation during the debate on supplementary demands for excess grants in Lok Sabha, FM Nirmala Sitharaman stated that it is a
The budget estimate had initially accorded Rs 60,000 crore to the program and then an additional Rs 20,000 crore would be allocated if the house passes the supplementry demands for excess grants, she stated.
She highlighted this would bring the total allocation for MNREGA this year to Rs 80,000 crore.
In his response to Surjewala's comments during the debate on EC bills, BJP MP Ghanshyam Tiwari said the biggest challenge facing democracy and elections is not the EC procedures but the dynastic politics.
He also says that if you seek to improve elections, the impact of wealth and black money should be reduced.
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal presented the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha.
This first bill related to EC was presented in August and this bill is to regulate the appointment process, conditions of service, and the term of office for the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners
Both the Upper House and Lower House adjourned, to resume at 2 pm after lunch break.
After the government withdrew the three criminal laws, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to them again today.
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita are to be presented again to seek to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.
On December 11, Union Home Minister Amit Shah notified Lok Sabha of replacing the old bills with three new bills that would incorporate the improvements proposed by a parliamentary committee.
While introducing the bills, Home Minister Amit Shah said the soul of these three new laws will be to protect all the rights given by the Constitution to the citizens.
Congress MP Manish Tewari has given an Adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha to discuss the situation of Navy personnel in Qatar and the steps taken to bring them back to India.
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal is expected to move the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha today for consideration and passage to repeal certain enactments and to amend an enactment.
The Lok Sabha has earlier passed the Bill.
RJD MP Manoj Jha slammed Amit Shah over the Supreme Court verdict on Article 370
He said, “I just said that there is no elected MP from Kashmir but he (Amit Shah) took it somewhere else. The kind of speech Home Minister Amit Shah gave lacked dignity. So our LoP Mallikarjun Kharge decided that we should walk out of the Parliament.”
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi has sent an adjournment motion to discuss the recent train accidents and their major impact on the transportation industry.
Shah would introduce the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 in Parliament, which have been redrafted after various recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee.
The three bills would respectively replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Both, the Upper House and Lower House have resumed. While the Arjun Ram Meghawal is expected to bring a bill related to Election Commissioner's appointment in Rajya Sabha, in Lok Sabha, Amit Shah would present the 3 criminal law bills.
We'll keep you updated on the happenings in the Parliament today so stay tuned!
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