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Govt points to Ordinance route for crucial bills

With the Opposition stepping up its attack on the government over the religious conversion issue and the stalemate in Rajya Sabha persisting, the government is preparing to bring in the Insurance Bill and the Coal Bill through the Ordinance route.

Since Parliament is still in session, the government refrained from making any official statement on the issue but enough indications were given by senior ministers that there were ample “precedents by the Congress governments in the past” of bills being pushed through the Ordinance route.

When asked if the Insurance bill was not a property of the house, a senior minister in the know of things shot back, “It is the property of the people.”

The Winter session will conclude tomorrow and despite the government being keen on  passing crucial bills slated to spearhead economic reform agenda of the government are stuck in the upper house.  

One of the senior minister’s cited the example of the Congress led UPA government’s Food Security Act which was promulgated through an Ordinance route when it ran into rough weather in Parliament.

Despite the logjam in the upper house, another minister said that the government was not going to give in to the demands of the Opposition (that the PM come and make a statement on the religious conversion issue) because “the Constitution has made enough provisions for all such situations”.  

Infact the Opposition rationale that the bill is the property of the house is far from accurate. Secretary General Lok Sabha PDT Achary speaking to Business Standard said, “It is not illegal to promulgate an ordinance when a bill is pending before the house or even before a Committee of the house.” 

He cited how the National Commission of Minority Educational Institutions Amendment Ordinance was promulgated during the UPA regime in 2006, when it was before the Rajya Sabha.

The Janata parties ensured that the issue of the failure of the Modi led government to bring back black money was also raised in the house today alongwith the protests and slogans on the religious conversion issue.

The Opposition parties will only be making a concession for the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Bill, 2014; this bill which has been cleared by the Lok sabha needs to be passed by December 31 as  it gives protection to unauthorized constructions.

With an eye on the upcoming polls and electoral considerations, Opposition parties will blink to get this passed tomorrow; the only business that is likely to be transacted in the upper house.

Ordinances are temporary laws which can be issued by the President when Parliament is not in session.  Ordinances are issued by the President based on the advice of the Union Cabinet.

The purpose of Ordinances is to allow governments to take immediate legislative action if circumstances make it necessary to do so at a time when Parliament is not in session.They must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they cease to operate.

They also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both Houses. If Parliament does not pass a law turning an ordinance into legislation, it can be repromulgated. A session of Parliament must be held within 6 months of passing an Ordinance.

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