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Lok Sabha Passes Essential Defence Services Bill Amid Opposition Protests on Pegasus, Farm Laws

Rajya Sabha passes Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill after brief discussion.
Lok Sabha Passes Essential Defence Services Bill Amid Opposition Protests on Pegasus, Farm Laws

Image Courtesy: Telegraph India

New Delhi: Lok Sabha passed the Essential Defence Services Bill-2021 on Tuesday amid protests by Opposition members over various issues that led to the proceedings being adjourned for the day. 

As the House reconvened a 4 p.m after repeated adjournments, the Opposition continued their protests over the Pegasus snooping controversy and the contentious farm laws.

 Amid the din, the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 was passed. 

In the morning when the House assembled at 11 am, the Opposition members came to the well and started sloganeering over the alleged snooping through the Pegasus software and demanding scrapping of the three farm laws enacted last year. 

When questions relating to agriculture and farmers' welfare came for discussion during the Question Hour, Speaker Om Birla asked the protesting members to raise farmers-related queries in the House. 

 "I wanted you to question the minister with regard to farmers welfare, but you are engaging in sloganeering which is not acceptable... You don't want to discuss farm issues...," Birla said. 

 However, members from Opposition parties continued their sloganeering. 

Speaker Birla after allowing the Question Hour to continue for about 40 minutes amidst the protests, adjourned the House for 20 minutes till 12 noon. 

 When the House re-assembled at noon, the Opposition protests continued. 

Senior MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, who was in the chair, first allowed the papers related to various ministries to be laid in the House. 

He also announced that the adjournment motion moved by a few members were rejected by the Speaker. 

As the protests continued, Mahtab appealed to the Opposition members to go to their seats so that the House can function normally. 

As the Opposition ignored his plea, Mahtab adjourned the House till 2 pm after 10 minutes of business. 

Later, Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after the House passed the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 amid the din. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government was ready to respond to any queries raised by members on bills laid in the House. Critical of the Opposition, Sitharaman said that the "constitutional impasse" in Parliament was "not correct". 

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and RSP MP N K Premchandran said that Bills should not be passed when the House is not in order and there should be a proper debate before the passage of any Bill. 

Rajya Sabha passes Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill 

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day on Tuesday amid continuous protest by opposition parties over their demand for a discussion on the use of Pegasus spyware, farmers' agitation against farm reform laws and other issues. 

However, the House passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with a brief discussion amid the ruckus created by opposition parties. 

 As soon as the House resumed after lunch at 2 p.m, BJP member Bhubaneshwar Kalita in Chair asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021. 

Soon after, the Opposition members started their protest and trooped into the Well of the House and remained there throughout. They also continued sloganeering. 

The chair called Amar Patnaik (BJD) to initiate the debate on the bill. Thereafter, Banda Prakash (TRS), M Thambidurai, K Ravindra Kumar (TDP) and V Vijaysai Reddy (YSRCP) participated in the discussion on the bill amid continuous protest by opposition members. 

John Brittas (CPI-M) also rose to participate in the debate, but then started taking about issues like snooping, saying that the democracy is in danger. 

 After the brief debate by a few members, the Bill was moved for passage in the House and it was passed with voice vote amid the din by the Opposition.

The Bill seeks to replace the IBC Amendment Ordinance, 2021 promulgated in April which introduced pre-packs as an insolvency resolution mechanism for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with defaults up to Rs 1 crore.

 The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on July 28.

 The proposed amendments will enable the government to notify the threshold of a default not exceeding Rs 1 crore for initiation of the pre-packaged resolution process. The government has already prescribed the threshold of Rs 10 lakh for this purpose. 

 The bill proposes a new chapter in the IB Code to facilitate the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate persons that are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). 

 As per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill, it seeks to specify a minimum threshold of not more than Rs 1 crore for initiating the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process as well as provisions for disposal of simultaneous applications for initiation of the insolvency resolution process and pre-packaged insolvency resolution process, pending against the same corporate debtor. 

There would be a penalty for fraudulent or malicious initiation of the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process, or with intent to defraud persons, and for fraudulent management of the corporate debtor during the process.

 Further, punishment would be meted out for offences related to the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process.

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