The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the
Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019, during the post-lunch sitting after facing three adjournments earlier in the day, ANI reported.

The House was adjourned once till noon, then till 2 pm and 3 pm as Opposition parties kept raising multiple concerns to disrupt proceedings. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last week. The amendments propose changes to the composition and appointment terms of the National Human Rights Commission and the state human rights commissions.

Earlier in the day, when Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh asked for the bill to be moved, Congress leader Anand Sharma raised a point of order saying that in the absence of a standing committee, it would be unfair to proceed with the amendments. Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party MPs accused the protesting leaders of obstructing human rights by not allowing the discussions. The ruling party does not have a majority in the Upper House.

When the House resumed proceedings at 3 pm, the members congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation for the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2. An earlier attempt, made on July 15, had to be called off due to a technical problem.

Repeated adjournments

In the morning sitting, members of the Congress gave a notice under Rule 267 to discuss the political crisis in Karnataka, where the party is struggling to keep the coalition it is part of in power. The state government is likely to face a trust vote in the Assembly later in the day. Naidu said the matter was pending before the Supreme Court and refused to discuss it.

Members of the Trinamool Congress sent a similar notice to discuss last week’s shooting incident in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, in which 10 Adivasi farmers were killed. Other Opposition parties sought a discussion on an incident of mob lynching in Bihar.

The proceedings in the Upper House were first adjourned for an hour amid the chaos, and on resumption at noon, were adjourned till 2 pm. Earlier, the House mourned the death of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Naidu said, while reading out the obituary reference: “In passing away of Sheila Dikshit, the country has lost a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator.”

In the afternoon, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien called for discussions on the protection of Dalit rights. However, protesting members continued to chant slogans, saying “Dalit-opposing government won’t do”, and threw papers in the House.

Lok Sabha

In the Lower House, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan introduced the National Medical Commission Bill that will replace the Medical Council of India. It will also repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

It has been alleged that the process followed by the MCI to regulate medical colleges was flawed. The 29-member National Medical Commission will have 20 members selected through nomination and nine elected.

The provisions in the Bill include a proposal to treat the final-year MBBS exam as an entrance test for postgraduation and a screening test for students who graduated in medicine from foreign countries. This exam will be called the National Exit Test. The bill also caps the fee on 50% seats in MBBS and PG colleges.

The Lok Sabha also passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019. However, the Opposition alleged that the amendment bill dilutes the Act, NDTV reported. The Opposition demanded that the Bill be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny.

Earlier, proceedings in the Lok Sabha were adjourned till 2 pm as a mark of respect for Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramchandra Paswan, who died on Sunday. Paswan represented Samastipur constituency of Bihar in the Lower House.

The House also mourned Dikshit’s death. She was a member of the eighth Lok Sabha from 1984 to 1989.

Opposition members protested against Speaker Om Birla’s decision to adjourn the House till only 2 pm. Congress leader in the House, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said traditionally the House is adjourned for the day after the death of a sitting member.