It’s a bit of good news on a gloomy day. Physically and mentally challenged people now have a piece of legislation that gives them more protection. A usually divided house united for a few moments to pass the Disabilities Bill.
For the first time since the Winter session began on November 16, Rajya Sabha on December 14 saw a legislative action as it passed the Disabilities Bill in a cordial atmosphere. (This amity did not last long as once the Bill was passed, the Opposition again created uproar, leading to early adjournment for the day.)
The Rajya Sabha witnessed unusual bonhomie and meeting of minds over the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, with both the Opposition and the government agreeing to pass it, setting aside temporarily their confrontation over demonetisation and other issues like alleged misuse of office Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju with regard to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh.
The foundation for it was laid as soon as the House met for the day, with members cutting across party lines pitching for immediate passage of the “crucial” legislation without any discussion.
Among those who pressed for it were Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, BSP chief Mayawati, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and SP leader Naresh Agarwal.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi agreed to immediately take up the bill which stipulates up to two-year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh for discriminating against differently-abled persons.
Expressing happiness over the rare unanimity on display, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien decided to set aside the Zero Hour to take up the bill. However, he did not agree to passage of the bill without any debate, saying there could be some members who would like to speak on it, particularly those who have moved amendments.
Accordingly, the process to pass the bill took place partly during the Zero Hour and partly in post-lunch session.
However, as soon as the bill was passed, uproar was again witnessed as Congress members raked up the demonetisation issue and Rijiju matter.
This led to adjournment of the House at around 2.45 pm. .