There would be no winter session of parliament this year. (File Photo, Image credit: The Indian Express)

Bills galore passed in Parliament amidst empty Opposition benches

In what can be termed as unprecedented development in the history of Indian Parliament, 15 Bills mostly related to Labour Reforms were passed by the Lower and Upper Houses in the last two days, that is Sep 22 and 23. Eight of them were passed on Wednesday and seven a day earlier. Experts are of the view that these Bills are likely to have far-reaching impact on the industrial as well as other sector labourers.

They were passed amidst empty opposition benches as they have been boycotting the proceedings of Parliament since the passage of Farm Bills [Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020] in Rajya Sabha in a controversial manner. These two Farm Bills were passed in Rajya Sabha through voice votes notwithstanding the fact that the opposition members were demanding division of votes.

This led to the uproarious scene in the House with the opposition demanding no-confidence motion against its vice chairman, Harivansh. Later the opposition members sat on a dharna. On Tuesday Harivansh himself brought morning tea from his house to break the fast of the agitating members but the latter refused. Even as the deadlock was yet to be broken, on Tuesday seven important Bills were passed.

These included three labour-related Bills. They are: Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, Industrial Relations Code and Social Security Code. With farmers already on warpath in many states the recent legislation of Bills related to labour reforms are likely to agitate many industrial workers, and that too in this post-lockdown era of rampant unemployment.

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