New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The government was able to pass a mere 11 bills, including nine appropriation bills related to the railways, the general budget and the Jharkhand budget and two against gender crimes, against the 68 listed for the first half of the budget session that concluded Friday.
“The financial items and the motion of thanks to the president’s address had to be passed in the first half of the session. In the remaining time, two other legislations were passed,” an official told IANS, not wanting to be named.
During the first half, the government introduced only two bills – the Agricultural Biosecurity (Amendment) Bill, 2013, and The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
The budget session started Feb 21 and will now reconvene April 22-May 10.
The two bills to curb crimes against women are the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
Parliament lost several hours as it was disrupted over several issues, including Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement that he had intelligence about the twin blasts in Hyderabad Feb 21, the DMK and the AIADMK protesting against a United Nations resolution against Sri Lanka, the Central Bureau of Investigation raids on DMK leader Stalin and Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s remarks against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Congress sources said the three major bills for the second half of the budget session are the food security bill, the land acquisition and rehabilitation bill, the Lokpal bill and bills relating to economic reforms.
The anti-rape bill was taken up in the first half as it replaced an ordinance promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee and had to be passed by April 4.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012, mandates that any organisation with 10 or more employees has to set up an committee to look into any complaints.
The penalty for violation will be Rs.50,000. Repeated violations could result in higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.
The bill covers not only employees, but also clients, customers, apprentices and daily wage workers.
The anti-rape bill provides for enhanced punishment for rape, makes stalking and voyeurism criminal offences and fixes the age of consent for sex at 18.
The widely-debated bill seeks to provide enhanced punishment for crimes such as rape and gang-rape, prescribing punishment extending to death sentence for offenders for inflicting any injury which causes death of the victim or causes them to be in a persistent vegetative state.
The issue was in focus after the brutal assault and gangrape of a Delhi girl Dec 16, 2012. She later succumbed to her injuries.
The appropriation bill related to Jharkhand budget was passed by parliament as the state is under the president’s rule since January.
(Amit Agnihotri can be contacted at [email protected])