Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday suggested that bills pending for more than five years in the Upper House must be considered lapsed. The vice president also expressed concern over the loss of time due to disruptions in Parliament, and said this “dysfunctional, disruptive environment must change”. Continuous disruptions mean that bills are not passed on time, he said, adding that this was a waste of time.
Twenty-two pending bills in the Rajya Sabha lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in May, Naidu said. “Under the provision of Article 107 of the Constitution, bills passed by the Lok Sabha during the course of it’s five year term and pending in Rajya Sabha get lapsed with the dissolution of the House of the People,” Naidu told the Rajya Sabha. “Accordingly, 22 bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabha and were pending in the Upper House got lapsed.”
In effect, he said, the Lok Sabha has to take up these 22 bills again for consideration. “I am afraid it would take a minimum of two sessions for doing so,” Naidu said. “And this means that the efforts of Lok Sabha for passing these 22 Bills have been rendered waste.” The land acquisition bill, the triple talaq bill, the legislation on Aadhaar amendment, and Motor Vehicles bill are among those that have lapsed.
At the end of the last session of the Rajya Sabha, 55 bills were pending in the House, and now it has come down to 33. Of these, one piece of legislation – the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987 – has been pending for more than 32 years, he said. Three bills have been pending for more than 20 years, six bills have been pending for 10 to 20 years, 14 bills have not been passed in the past five to 10 years, and only 10 bills have remained stuck in the House for less than five years.
“Such long pendency does not reflect well on the functioning of the Parliament,” the chairperson said. “In order to streamline the process, I suggest that if a bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction of such bills, such pending bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed. Let us have a wider debate in this regard as well.”
Naidu added that he was “deeply disturbed” by recent proceedings in the House, probably referring to disruptions during debates. “The trust and confidence of people in our institutions is getting eroded,” he said. “This downslide should end. We cannot allow any further weakening of our democratic structures. Together, we must restore the stature and dignity of the House.”