Why Modi govt shying away from discussion? asks Congress; 17 instances when it happened before repealing law

The Opposition had demanded a discussion on the subject to raise issues of MSP for farmers, impact of the delay in repealing farm laws, compensation for more than 700 farmers who died during protests

Why Modi govt shying away from discussion? asks Congress; 17 instances when it happened before repealing law

Ashlin Mathew

Without considering the request from the Opposition, the union government led by Narendra Modi passed a bill to repeal all the three farm laws in both Houses of Parliament in record time without any discussions on the subject on the first day of the winter session on Monday, November 29, 2021. In Lok Sabha, the Bill was passed in four minutes and in Rajya Sabha after a short discussion involving six MPs.

Spokespersons within the government said that whenever laws were repealed discussions have never taken place in either Houses of Parliament. However, there have been at least 17 instances where discussions have happened before repealing of laws.

The Opposition had demanded a discussion on the subject to raise the issues of Minimum Support Price for the farmers, impact of the delay in repealing farm laws, compensation for the more than 700 farmers who had died during protests and for justice in the farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri. The Union government, instead, questioned the intention of the Opposition for demanding a discussion in the House.

Slamming the government, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government is lying by stating that there never has been any discussion when Bills have been repealed. “There are 17 Bills where discussions took place before repealing of laws. We want to place the continued demands of farmers before the government through these discussions, but the government doesn’t want any discussion,” asserted Kharge.

The latest instance of when there was a discussion before repealing of Bills was in 2017 for the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017, and ‘The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment Bill) Bill, 2017. This was during the first term of the Narendra Modi government and this Amendment Bill was to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, as passed by the Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on April 5, 2017.

The Bill was then passed by the Rajya Sabha with an Amendment (without clause-3) during its sitting on August 6, 2018. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill with alternate and further amendments on August 9, 2018.

The earliest instance of discussions before repealing of a Bill occurred for the Railway Passenger Fares (Repeal) Bill, in 1961, during the term of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Discussions to repeal laws have happened during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s term from 1999 to 2004 too. During his term, discussions were allowed for the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Repeal Bill, 2003; the Industrial Development Bank (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Bill, 2003; the Unit Trust of India (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Bill, 2002; the Iron and Steel Companies (Amalgamation and Takeover laws) Repeal Bill, 2000; the Judicial Administration Laws (Repeal) Bill, 2000; and the Cotton Cloth (Repeal) Act, 2000.

In addition to the above laws, discussions have taken place during the repealing of the following laws too:

  • The Displaced Persons Claims and Other Laws Repeal Bill 2004

  • The Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunals Repeal Bill, 1991

  • Gold (Control) Repeal Bill, 1990

  • The Sugar Export Promotion (Repeal) Bill, 1990

  • The Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Repeal Bill, 1986

  • The Hindu Widows’ Re-Marriage (Repeal) Bill, 1982

  • The Special Court (Repeal) Bill, 1980

  • The Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control (Nasirabad Cantonment Repeal) Bill, 1967

  • The Uttar Pradesh Cantonments (Control of Rent and Eviction) I (Repeal) Bill, 1971

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked why the government was shying away from a discussion on the Bill, when the opposition was supporting the government for repealing it.

Adding to this Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted that the government passed the Bill without discussions as it did not want any accountability. “A debate would make the PM and the BJP answerable for the conspiracy to sell the farming sector at the altar of crony friends, sacrifice of 700 farmers, not giving MSP," pointed out Surjewala in a tweet.

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi underscored the way the Bills were repealed without discussions shows that the government is afraid of it. “The government knows that they have erred by passing the Bills and they are afraid of the farmers. They have no guts. The discussions were to be on the farm issues and why were the farm laws passed without any consultations. The government continues to believe that the farmers can be subjugated,” added Rahul Gandhi in a statement to the press.

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