Major bills passed during Parliament's Winter Session
The Winter Session of Parliament ended Wednesday a day ahead of schedule. The session lasted 24 days and included 18 sittings, during which multiple important bills were cleared. Some of the key bills passed this Winter Session included controversial the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill and the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, which ended the year-long farmers' protest.
The Winter Session witnessed heavy protests as the Opposition claimed that the government was rushing controversial bills without a proper vote. These included electoral reforms where privacy concerns have been highlighted due to Aadhaar. Due to the protests, the productivity of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha was registered at 82% and 48%, respectively.
The bill passed both Houses on November 29, the day it had been tabled. The bill repeals three agriculture laws that were passed by Parliament in September 2020: the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 14 to amend the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003. Under the 2003 law, the Director of Enforcement has a tenure of a minimum of two years. Under the amendment, the director's tenure may be extended by one year at a time up to five years from the initial appointment.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1950, and the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It makes provisions for linking Aadhaar to voter IDs. The contentious provision has raised questions about individual privacy in light of similar concerns over Aadhaar. The amendment also seeks to replace the statutes "gender-neutral," replacing the word "wife" with "spouse."
The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 was passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The bill seeks to regulate assisted reproductive technology (ART) services including in-vitro fertilization (IVF) centers, sperm or egg banks. It also aims to restrict unethical reproductive practices such as sex selection. Notably, the bill was introduced after a parliamentary panel recommended its introduction while reviewing The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019.
The bill replaces the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. It seeks to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946—which provides for the appointment of the Director of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI). The director has a tenure of two years minimum. The amendment allows tenure extension by one year at a time up to five years from the initial appointment.