Lok Sabha

March 3, 2015

Saugata Roy opposes the introduction of Insurance Bill | Transcript

Saugata Roy opposes the introduction of Insurance Bill | Transcript

As per Rule 71 (1) of the Rules of Procedure, I oppose the introduction of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014 to further amend the Insurance Act, 1938 and the General Insurance Business Nationalisation Act, 1972, and to amend the IRD Act 1999.

My esteemed colleagues have already mentioned some points. The history of the Bill is stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons in this Bill. If I may read just two lines, the Select Committee this was appointed in August 2014 incorporated amendments to the Insurance Laws along with 99 official amendments, the Cabinet approved the proposal to enable the Bill as quoted by Select Committee to be taken up into consideration and passing. According the Finance Minister, who is not here, who has gone to the States, has given a notice in the RS, that the Bill as reported by the Select Committee be taken into consideration and be passed. However the Bill could not be taken up into consideration during the Winter Session, 2014.

Then again the Govt for some reason felt that there was urgency in the matter, so the Cabinet approved on the 24 December, promulgation of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, and it was issued on 26 December, 2014. Now after the Ordinance was promulgated in the current session, the Government gave a motion in the Rajya Sabha to withdraw the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill from the Rajya Sabha. However the Government’s motion for withdrawal could not be passed, so the fact remains that the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, as per the report of the Select Committee appointed by the Rajya Sabha, remains in the Rajya Sabha, and is the property of the Rajya Sabha.

Now, show me one instance in the last 65 years of the operation of Constitution of India that a Bill, while it is still pending in one House was presented in another House. If we do that this whole Constitution, as was pointed out by Sampat, which talks of a bi-cameral system, the Rajya Sabha has no powers as far is financial matters are concerned, but as far as Legislative matters are concerned, Rajya Sabha has equal powers as the Lok Sabha. So while the Bill remains in the Rajya Sabha, we have objection to the Bill, we do not agree this 49% of FDI in Insurance. I will not go into the substance of the Bill, I am talking of the procedural point, that while the Bill remains the property of the other House, can the Lok Sabha overlook that and bring first an ordinance, and then introduce a Bill? Are we subjected to Ordinance raj? Are we subjected to a system where there is a Constitutional Imbroglio?

These sort of questions have to be answered and clarified, once and for all not only for this Bill but also for posterity, whether a Bill remaining pending in one House, not allowed to be adjourned in that House, can be introduced in the other House. Same Bill going from one House to another House, and an Ordinance coming in, this is not the way a Govt should function.

So I oppose the introduction, of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act and we shall ask for a revision on this Motion, opposing the introduction of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill.