New Delhi, Nov 19: Praising the role of the Select Committees of the Rajya Sabha in amending the Bills, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the practice of sending the Bills to Select Committee should continue.
Dr Singh, while participating in the debate on the 250th anniversary of Rajya Sabha, said “With my experience of three decades in the Upper House, I can say with confidence that the Standing Committees have played a major role in amending the Bills sent either from the Lower House or introduced in this House." The Bill are properly scrutinised by these committees where not only the Members but the experts concerned have also given their opinions, he further said.
Taking dig at the Government, Dr Singh said that only 25 per cent of the Bills were sent to Select committees in the 16th Lok Sabha whereas this used to be 71 per cent and 60 per cent in 15th Lok Sabha and 14th Lok Sabha respectively. Stressing on continuation of this practice, he said the Upper House must continue this, irrespective of what the Lower House does.
Describing the recent trend of passing Money Bills bypassing the Rajya Sabha as inappropriate, he said in recent times, the executive has misused Article 110 of the Constitution and passed several important bills without discussion that the ruling party should avoid such a situation. This reduces the importance of all our institutions, including Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh added.
The former Prime Minister also said the Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and it has been made in such a way that only one-third of its member retires in two years. Therefore, this House is never dissolved which gives strength to the House to increase the quality of Bills.
“The first Chairman of Rajya Sabha Dr S Radhakrishnan had said that this is not only a legislative body but also a forum for discussion. Therefore, we should make a valuable contribution through discussion in the Bill brought here and Members should justify the importance of the second chamber of Parliament that the second House is necessary to improve the laws made in haste in another House," Dr Singh said.
Referring to the criticism of Rajya Sabha by some people, he said this absolutely downgrades the role of Rajya Sabha, and concluded his remarks by saying that it is the responsibility of this House that no law be made in haste and on mere emotions. (UNI)