Dis­ap­proval Res­o­lu­tion to Test Govt in RS

Money Bill to re­place note ex­tin­guisher or­di­nance may face pro­ce­dural hin­drance in Up­per House where com­bined Op­po­si­tion is in ma­jor­ity Congress MP TS Reddy has sought time to move a res­o­lu­tion “seek­ing dis­ap­proval” of the or­di­nance it­self

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment is up against an un­ex­pected hur­dle in the Ra­jya Sabha on the bill for scrap­ping Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes. While the or­di­nance pro­mul­gated for ex­tin­guish­ing the notes was re­placed by the Spec­i­fied Bank Notes Bill in the Lok Sabha on Tues­day, the Op­po­si­tion is set to ex­ploit a pro­ce­dural open­ing to de­rail the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts in the Ra­jya Sabha.

On­the­faceof it,theRSshould­have no role be­cause the leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­ducedintheLSasaMoneyBill. This means that once passed in LS, all that’s needed is for it to be in­tro­ducedintheRSand­int­woweek­si­tis deemed ap­proved even if the House doesn’t pass the bill.

But the twist in the tale came at t h e Raj ya S a b h a Busi n e s s Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Tues­day, where Congress MP T Sub­barami Reddy sought time to move a res­o­lu­tion “seek­ing dis­ap­proval” of the or­di­nance it­self. The BAC has ac­cepted this af­ter his party backed him along with other Op­po­si­tion mem­bers. This is likely to be taken up to­gether with gov­ern­ment’s bill slated for Thurs­day.

The prob­lem is that if the res­o­lu­tion is passed “dis­ap­prov­ing” the or­di­nance by a united op­po­si­tion in the RS, then the re­place­ment bill can­not be in­tro­duced even if it’s a Money Bill. The gov­ern­ment can bring a new bill but this would be tricky as Par­lia­ment goes on a month-long re­cess af­ter Thurs­day. If the or­di­nance is dis­ap­proved and no new law passed, the de­mon­e­tised cur­rency notes would re­gain va­lid­ity for at least a month, till Par­lia­ment re­con­venes again.

In 1991, an or­di­nance re­lated to the Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure was dis­ap­proved by the Ra­jya Sabha, sim­i­larly, af­ter the chair­man’s cast­ing vote broke the tie in favour of the ‘dis­ap­proval’. As a re­sult, the bill re­plac­ing the or­di­nance was never taken up.

In this case, the gov­ern­ment has the op­tion of de­fer­ring the RS process un­til the re­cess and use the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod to muster num­bers from smaller parties or even get a new bill. The prob­lem, how­ever, is that de­mon­eti­sa­tion or­di­nance lapses on March 13 and Par­lia­ment re­con­venes on March 9, a Thurs­day, leav­ing just a cou­ple of work­ing days to push the bill through.

By then, the re­sults of this round of assem­bly polls will be out, which might gen­er­ate its own dy­nam­ics in Par­lia­ment. A pos­si­ble bi­par­ti­san reach-out or an ap­peal to the Op­po­si­tion is an­other al­ter­na­tive but that has its own down­sides dur­ing elec­tions, an in­sider said.

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