Before 2014, Bills referred to standing committee due to differences within ruling party: BJP
New Delhi: Countering the opposition allegation of passing Bills without consideration of Parliament Standing Committees, the ruling BJP on Tuesday said that for 25 years before 2014 referring Bills to the committee was necessary due to the prevailing non consensus and difference of opinions within the ruling party itself.
The opposition parties regularly demand that Bills should be sent to the standing committee before being tabled for discussion in Parliament. Alleging India’s declining democracy index, opposition said that during 2004-2009 about 60 per cent Bills were sent to parliamentary committees while after 2019 only 12 per cent were sent to committee.
“For 25 years before 2014, the governments formed at the Centre were weaker and had a coalition one. Thus, referring Bills to the Standing Committee was necessary due to the prevailing non consensus and difference of opinions within the ruling party itself,” a BJP source said.
The saffron party claimed that since 2014 the ruling dispensation has an absolute majority, hence there exists a broad consensus amongst the majority members when a Bill is put for discussion. Hence, there may be little scope for sending them to Parliamentary Standing Committees
The BJP stated that sending Bills to the Parliamentary Standing Committees are no measures of ‘Democracy’. “The Parliamentary Standing Committees were constituted in 1993 and prior to the formation of the Committee in April, 1993 for 41 years (first Lok Sabha session commenced on April 17, 1952) the Bills were presented directly in Parliament for deliberations,” a senior BJP leader said.
The BJP asked does this mean that there was no democracy in India for 41 years. “Bills passed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi were all wrong legislations. The Constitution made by Babasaheb Ambedkar was not sent to a Select Committee. These committees are subset of Houses, they themselves cannot approve any Bill, Parliament is the ultimate authority. All laws have been approved by Parliament only,” the BJP leader said.
The BJP further claimed that despite being a government of absolute majority, the NDA govt has spent more time on debate in parliament to ensure that bill is passed with consensus.
“During 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19), 32 per cent of the Bills were discussed for more than three hours in the Lok Sabha, higher than the previous two terms (22 per cent and 14 percent in the 15th and 14th Lok Sabha). During the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14), 36 per cent of the total Bills passed were debated for less than 30 minutes. Of these, 20 Bills were passed in less than five minutes,” BJP functionary said.