Facing Rajya Sabha hurdle for key legislations, Govt calls for redefining of Upper House's role

The government, which could not pass key legislations due to number crunch in Rajya Sabha, Wednesday called for re-defining the role of the Upper House and state Legislative Councils, an issue which had kicked up a political row last month.

Visakhapatnam: The government, which could not pass key legislations due to number crunch in Rajya Sabha, Wednesday called for re-defining the role of the Upper House and state Legislative Councils, an issue which had kicked up a political row last month.

Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, addressing the 17th All India Whips' Conference here, raised the issue, noting that sometimes, governments and Houses of Parliament and state legislatures are not able to pass bills which are in the interest of country and people.

"There is a need to re-define role of Rajya Sabha and state Legislative Councils in the current political situation. Our Constitution makers must have not imagined about today's political situation when they thought about rights and responsibilities of both the Houses of Parliament and state legislatures," Naqvi said.

Last month Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his speech at an event in Mumbai that time has now come to debate whether an "indirectly elected" House can hold reforms passed by the "directly elected" Lok Sabha.

The remarks were made in the backdrop of Rajya Sabha failing to pass the GST Bill in the Monsoon Session, which was a near washout due to frequent disruptions by opposition parties over Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.

Jaitley had wondered "till what extent can the indirectly elected House hold reform proposals passed by the directly elected House which represents will of the people?"

Reacting sharply to it, Congress had asked Jaitley to "retract" his statement and "seek an apology", asserting that it we will not allow, under any circumstances, "redefining of the Constitution and Parliament of India".

Naqvi raking up the issue at the Whips Conference brings the issue back in focus more sharply.

He said that after voting percentage of 80-90 in polls, people expect the governments and Houses will work to fulfill their expectations "but sometimes, people's welfare gets affected due to politics".

That his target was the Opposition in Parliament was evident as he said "generally, states don't face such problem, but the Centre often has to go through such situation."

Naqvi said issues related to nation's progress and welfare of common people should not get affected due to politics.

In a veiled attack on Congress over washout of Monsoon Session of Parliament, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M M Venkaiah Naidu had yesterday said there is no justification "beyond a point" in creating roadblocks in the functioning of legislative bodies and suggested that an inter-party forum be set up for their smooth functioning.

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