What all happened in the winter session?

What all Happened in the 2015 Winter Session Parliament

What all Happened in the 2015 Winter Session ParliamentThe 2015 winter session of Parliament began on 26 November and adjourned sine die on 23 December. As expected, the winter session, too, was stormy with the Opposition led by Congress stalling proceedings over a number of issues. But through the din and debate of vociferous parliamentarians, 14 bills were passed by Lok Sabha and 9 bills were cleared by Rajya Sabha, making this session more productive overall than the previous monsoon session. Many bills were debated upon and some not taken up at all.

The winter session started with the House commemorating the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, but was soon caught up in the GST Bill debate, with a belligerent Congress taking a hard stand and BJP unable to bring various parties on board.

The ruling party was hopeful of getting the contentious bill passed in the Upper House with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley leading the initiative of reaching out to the Congress, along with senior party members Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu, who jointly held meetings with Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress to try and reach common ground, but the Congress stuck to its position. In the end, the GST Bill remained in a deadlock and could not be passed in this session.

With this experience, the government played it safe and sent the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill to the Joint House panel, since the TMC and BJD insisted that it be sent to a Standing Committee for further examination.

Soon the House was caught up in a heated debate with the Opposition, led by Mohd Salim of CPI, raising the issue of rising intolerance in the country which led to House proceedings being stalled. Rajya Sabha, in particular, witnessed frequent disruptions with the Opposition raising corruption charges against the FM, relating to his tenure at the DDCA, government action against the Gandhis on the National Herald case and the controversial role of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.

Overall Parliament performance

The Winter session saw Lok Sabha have 20 sittings with the same number for Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha functioned for 98% of its planned hours, while Rajya Sabha was functional for only 51% of its targeted schedule.

The total number of bills pending before the Winter session were 68. 10 bills were introduced in this session and 10 bills were passed. 3 bills were withdrawn, while 65 bills remain pending.

Bills passed by Parliament

The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015: Territorial jurisdiction of courts now defined for filing of cases pertaining to cheque bouncing.

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014: New offences added and some further amended to protect SCs and STs and allows for special courts to be established to try cases under the Act.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014: Allows for juveniles between 16-18 years to be prosecuted as adults for heinous crimes and provides institutional care to those children needing protection.

The Appropriation (No. 5) Bill, 2015: Authorizes expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Appropriation (No.6) Bill, 2015: Authorizes expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015: Allows for High Courts to set up commercial divisions with powers to adjudicate high value commercial disputes. Also, permits establishing of commercial courts at the district level.

The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015: Monthly salary eligibility raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 21,000 per month and wage ceiling for calculation of bonus raised from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000 per month.

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015: Curbs powers of the court to grant interim relief in certain arbitration cases and defines timeline for passing of judgements and fast tracking arbitration cases.

The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015: Joint venture between government companies for producing nuclear power now permissible.

The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015: Being a money bill, it is deemed as passed: Ceiling on cess on sugar production increased from Rs 25 to Rs 200 per quintal. 

Bills introduced in Winter session and pending

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill, 2015: Provides for establishing an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund, and amends laws pertaining to insolvency of individuals, corporate persons and partnership firms.

The Rajendra Central Agricultural University Bill, 2015: Allows for converting the existing Rajendra Agriculture University in Pusa-Delhi and Bihar, into a central university.

The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015: Alcohol production for potable purposes kept out of ambit of this Act.

Bills withdrawn/ replaced during Winter session

The Indian Forests Amendment Bill, 2012: The bill was withdrawn.

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015: The bill was withdrawn and replaced with a new bill.

The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 1992: The bill was withdrawn and replaced by a new bill.

Source: Partly from PRS India