Sudip Bandyopadhyay demands that PM address the Parliament about coronavirus pandemic


Sir, the coronavirus issue has shaken the whole of the world and we are not out of it. And we have heard that today the Hon’ble Prime Minister is going to address the nation at 8 PM. I would also request you let the Hon’ble Prime Minister address the House also, after speaking at the National level.

Pratima Mondal asks a Question about India’s slipping position in various development indices


Sir, according to NITI Aayog SDG Index 2019, more Indians have fallen into poverty, hunger and income inequality in the past two years and India secured the 102nd position in Global Hunger Index.

In this regard, I would like to know from the Hon’ble Minister, through you Sir, what steps have the government taken to re-evaluate and restructure ongoing schemes, as they do not seem very productive?

If not, then how can the government assure that all targets and goals  will be achieved? Thank you Sir.

Saugata Roy speaks on the Delhi genocide

Namaskar Sir, thank you. 

I rise to speak on the Delhi genocide. I am not speaking in a happy frame of mind because the Delhi genocide happened 72 years after Gandhi ji was murdered in the same city by a Hindu fanatic. Gandhi ji has been murdered again in Delhi by you know who, Sir. 

Sir, I was listening to one of the Honourable Members. Her speech, if made outside, could be termed as a hate speech. I have seldom heard such a biased, communal speech. I do not know whether this should go up in the House records. The Member was forthright in her defence of a man who went to Maujpur with 300 people and started the riots. She spent five minutes defending the most hated man so may I quote Shakespeare and call her ‘the devil’s advocate’. She is the best devil’s advocate possible. She has also been an advocate for Delhi Police, which has shown total inaction and ineptitude in this whole riot in Delhi. Unfortunately, there are not many takers for Meenakshi ji’s speech.  

Sir, this is what our leader Mamata Banerjee has said, that the Delhi riots were “a planned genocide”. So I must explain why she described it as such. She called it “a planned genocide” because there was gradual build-up to the hatred that led to the riots. First, there was the action taken in JNU against the students. Then, the police went to the Jamia Millia Islamia University and beat up students inside the library. Then, one after another, in the run-up to the Delhi election, one person said, “Goli maro”, and used some other words. Then another said, regarding the Shaheen Bagh protesters, that people will go and do all sorts of things to them. Then the Honourable Home Minister said, “Aap itna zor button dabao ki Shaheen Bagh mein current lage”. Lekin unka baat koi nahi suna, party haar gaya, woh toh dusri baat hain. But he did say, “Itna zor button dabao ki Shaheen Bagh mein current lage”. The hate was being built up, and then this man Kapil Mishra openly said that if the road was not cleared, he shall go with 300 people to clear it up. 

Then what happened, Sir? I’m not counting Hindus and Muslims, because I quote John Donne, who said: “any man’s death diminishes me,/ because I am involved in mankind./ And therefore never send to know for whom/ the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”. This was quoted by Ernest Hemingway in his famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Sir, I am not counting though I know that out of the 53 people killed, there were two policemen, and 11 belonged to the majority community and 40 to the minority community. I am not naming any community but it’s obvious that the minority community suffered more. And what’s more, thousands of people have fled from the affected areas and gone to their villages in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, or are living with relatives elsewhere in Delhi.

In this city of Delhi, areas like Maujpur, Chand Bagh and Jamuna Vihar were wholly affected. The other areas wholly affected, if I may mention, were Jaffrabad, Seelampur, Babarpur, Gokulpuri, Khajuri Khas, Karawal Nagar, Bhajanpura, Maujpur and Shivpuri. For three days, there was a naked dance of communalism in the streets of Delhi. How did it start? On the 23rd, Kapil Mishra came with a pro-CAA procession and there was a meeting in Jaffrabad. First, a clash took place between pro-CAA and anti-CAA protestors. Women have been sitting at Shaheen Bagh since December 14 but there was no violence. However, BJP leaders kept instigating them, saying “Yeh Shaheen Bagh, yeh deshdrohi hai, isko goli maro, ura do”, aur yeh ghrina charo taraf failne laga. Yahan Meenakshi Lekhi ka jo speech tha, waisa hi sab speech log bahar mein de rahe the

On the 23rd and 24th, the actual rioting started. I was looking for our Honourable Home Minister, and I saw him sitting in a front row sitting in the front row at Motera Stadium welcoming Mr Trump. When he should have been in the police control room he was welcoming Mr trump at Motera. On the 24th, which was a Monday, Mr Trump came to Ahmedabad and then he undertook a romantic visit to Agra, and our Home Minister attended Motera and came back to Delhi, but there was no order for the police. On that day, five people were killed including one head constable Ratan Lal. The violence was escalating, but still there was no clear instruction from the Honourable Home Minister. He was busy at Trump’s meeting. Then on the 25th things went out of control. Armed mobs fought with each other on the streets of Delhi. As the Honourable Member referred to earlier said, Molotov cocktails, stones, bombs and other things were thrown, and ultimately the death toll has gone up to 53. The Honourable Home Minister then had a meeting with the Chief MInister of Delhi and others on the 25th – mind you, not on the 24th when the riots started. He had the meeting on the 25th. And only on the evening of the 25th were the first orders given for imposition of Section 144 and for shoot-at-sight. Still, the violence went on throughout the night of 25th. Only on the 26th did peace return. The police had taken some action. The useless commissioner of Delhi was removed and a new man was brought in. 

Now it has been questioned as to why did the NSA visit these affected areas on the 26th? What was the Home Minister doing? The NSA is supposed to keep track of the threats to the country. But he is going to Kashmir, he is going here and there. Is it his business to control the internal law and order situation? Why was the Home Minister absent from action? There was no explanation for the same. 

When Ajit Doval went, he said, “Jo ho gaya so ho gaya, now there will be peace”. Uske baad se mera ek kavita yaad aya — “Panchi jo udti hai chaman badal giya/.Haste hai sitare gagan badal giya”. Aj shanti, khamoshi bata rahi hai laash wohi hai sirf kafan badal gaya. Kafan badal gaya kyun ki Ahmedabad wapas aya. Sir, Naroda Patia wapas aya; we haven’t forgotten. But the now Honourable Prime Minister said in 2002, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, quoting Isaac Newton. 

At this stage, I feel bad standing face-to-face with the Honourable Home Minister. You are still young, you have a good future if you accept responsibility for your failure to control Delhi riots, if you acknowledge your responsibility for failing to bring peace within three days. You were busy with Trump, so you could not do it. Acknowledge the responsibility in the name of god and go, don’t sit in the Home Minister’s position. If you go now, maybe you  will recover, otherwise you will have to lead the rest of your life with the stamp on your forehead that this is the man who could not prevent the riots in Delhi, just 10 km from the Home Ministry’s headquarters. If you could not control Delhi, how would you control this huge country? 

Sir, I demand a judicial enquiry into the riots by a sitting Supreme Court judge, not a retired judge. I demand total rehabilitation for all those affected by the riots, and lastly, with all politeness at my disposal, I ask the Honourable Home MInister, in the name of god, to go. 


Saugata Roy speaks on The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019


I am thankful that the House is sitting for so long at the desire of the Speaker who wants to make up for the time lost yesterday. It’s a good initiative. I have supported the extension of the time because he is trying to complete the business of the House. Let me make it clear at the outset that I was one of those who moved a statutory resolution against The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Export, Import, Transport, Sale and Distribution, Storage and Advertisements) Ordinance 2009. I opposed the Ordinance because I don’t like the Ordinance route. It circumvents the democratic procedure and it is only a matter of one or two months, the Government should not have resorted to the Ordinance.

Having said that about opposing the use of Ordinances, let me make it clear that my Party is for the Bill for banning of e-cigarettes. My party is also against smoking and it is not a personal question, it is a political view that smoking causes lung cancer and it should be banned. The Health Minister is an eminent ENT surgeon himself. He has seen at close range the amount of cancer cigarettes produce. If he has taken this step, I have no objection. 

I have a lot of questions to ask the Hon’ble Minister. In Bangla, there is a proverb which says, ‘jhi ke mere bou ke sekhano’ (you beat the maid to teach a lesson to your daughter in law). This is what the Minister is doing. Actually his intention is to take on the manufacturers’ lobby but he lacks the courage to do it at one go. He has taken up a very small percentage of tobacco users, where only 3.95 per cent of tobacco users are aware of e-cigarettes. And the percentage of the users stood at 0.04. He is leaving 99.98 percent free of this law and it is only touching 0.2 percent. Is it wise, is it efficacious?

E- cigarettes are diminishing year after year because they are costly and beyond the reach of most people. Earlier, I even saw that ITC was importing e-cigarettes from China. There is not much manufacturing of e-cigarettes anywhere, it is a very advanced electronic item. It is mostly imported. ITC, Philip Morris these big companies import these things and market in India. 

Now, what is an e-cigarette? The Minister has defined something but basically it is a hardware which is designed to replicate the traditional cigarette smoking experience with the help of batteries, atomiser and e-liquid juice. It produces vapour when current is passed through an atomiser through a battery which evaporates the e-juice. I like to state that it is not marketed as a substitute. No one gives up cigarettes because of e-cigarettes but as a substitute of traditional cigarettes. 

So, there is, as I said a battery. You press a button, then it atomises and then the e-liquid is used. And that’s why I think that the Minister is only touching the fringe of the problems. From his Ordinance, which was hurried, it would seem that it was taking a massive step towards smoking per se. It is not only smoking, chewing tobacco is equally dangerous. Pan Parag and all these things are equally dangerous; zarda is equally dangerous. He is touching only the fringe of the problem with much fanfare. This is what I think should not have happened. So, what you might ask is, what is my solution?

The Minister has taken many steps. He said that the electronic cigarette industry is being taken under his control. Production, manufacture, import, export etc and advertisement will be stopped. Storage of electronic cigarettes will be stopped, all stocks will be taken in control by the authorised officers, and the stocks will be disposed off. This is like what you do for cocaine or marijuana or all such things and if anybody continues this act then his imprisonment may extend to 1 year or more.

Now, I have another question to ask the Hon’ble Minister. He is taking so much trouble to enforce this ban. He will appoint authorised officers to force this ban. But have bans really prevented things from happening? Gujarat has a prohibition, ban on alcohol, for so many years. Has drinking stopped in Gujarat? Bihar has a ban on alcohol for so many years now. Has it stopped the consumption of alcohol in Bihar? The idea of a ban which is very popular in government circles in our country is not efficacious, it’s cumbersome. So you might ask, what is your solution, how do you enforce the ban? The way of enforcing the ban is to price it out of the range of people.

Sir, another suggestion: this ban will ultimately not have much effect. So what we can do is not only for e-cigarettes. They can make it expensive beyond limits and regulate them imposing tax and not ban but make a solution. Make it available beyond the buying capacity seems more reasonable than banning the products. 

But even then, if the government bans e-cigarettes, they should not let cigarettes and beedis to be sold freely, which kills 1.2 million people every year. That is the main question. You are not stopping sale of cigarettes, beedis, gutkha, chewing tobacco, Pan Parag — all these things but you are just banning e-cigarettes, bringing an Ordinance to do the same. As it is, prices of e-cigarette are high. So, if it increases further, it will be more efficacious.

I shall not oppose the Bill. I have got many amendments but I shall not oppose the Bill. So, all I’m saying is that let the Minister consider this. Sir, the Minister in his conclusion has said that the available scientific evidence indicates the use of e-cigarettes is hazardous for active as well as for passive smokers/users. Where is the scientific evidence? He should have quoted the scientific evidence on e-cigarettes. 

Secondly, he has said ICMR has issued a white paper. That white paper has not been circulated to us. ICMR is Indian Council For Medical Research, Sir. That’s not available for us. The International Association of Lung Cancer does not recommend use of e-cigarettes for treating nicotine dependence, even in cancer patients due to absence of sufficient evidence on the efficacy and safety. So even the International Association of Lung Cancer has not recommended the banning of e-cigarettes.

My appeal to you is Sir, that rethink about this e-cigarette. I have given a special Amendment; I have said that he has specified three types of electronic cigarettes. Look at 3(d). Electronic cigarettes means a device which heats a substance with or without nicotine and flavors to create an aerosol (the dhuwa) for inhalation and includes all forms of electronic nicotine delivery system.

I have said that where nicotine is delivered electronically you eliminate them. E-Hookah – you eliminate them. But when they say there are some heat and burn products, we just heat the tobacco but does not burn them, whether they should be classified in the same way? Because Sir, in cigarettes there are three dangerous things. One is the nicotine, second is the paper and third is the tar that is formed. So if the heat is not burned product is used at least tar and paper smoke will not come. So I would like to ask the Hon’ble Minister, whether you would like to rethink on this matter?

Sir, having put my objections thus, let me again say that the most dangerous thing today is chewing tobacco. Fifty one million people are using it. How to ensure that the stock that exists in the market will reach the government? So now he has not done anything about it. Earlier they said that cigarette, beedi etc will not be sold within so many meters of a school or a religious place; that is also not happening. So, the Minister has to take many more steps to ensure the lessening of cigarette smoking, though banning is surely not a way in which it will be lessened. 

With these words, I would again ask the Minister to think of more efficacious ways to cut down on smoking. I know that with tobacco industry giants like ITC, Philip Morris, Godfrey Philips etc. he will not be able to close down the tobacco industry. Thousands and millions of farmers are doing tobacco farming in Andhra Pradesh and other states. He will not be able to meet the challenges of the tobacco farmers’ lobby. So, he has just taken a token step. 

I say again that Dr Harshvardhan, an ENT specialist and a Minister, see I am opposing e-cigarettes. Through this I am paying my token allegiance to the cause of stopping cigarette smoking. I would say that let him rethink on all these points. 

Thank you, Sir. 

Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks during a discussion on air pollution and climate change



Shukriya mananiya Adhyaksh mahoday. Main apni abhar vyakt karti hoon. Adhyaksh mahoday jo nirnay kiya ki humein bachne ke liye shuddh hawa ki zaroorat hain aur yeh mahatwa mehsoos karte huye unhone is baat par aaj samay nischit kiya isiliye abhar vyakt karti hoon. 

Sir, are we choking? Is Delhi choking? Out of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, nine are in India. It was quite unnerving, I have the record Sir, when a foreign premier – I do not want to name her – on her visit to our nation, our India, about which we are so proud, made an adverse comment. So, I would like to draw the attention of the Government and Minister here. We heard about Swachh Bharat Mission. Can we launch a Swachh Hawa Mission? Shall we give it a thought? Another point to Hon’ble Member Kapil ji, when I was studying medical in MBBS course, the teachers would always tell us read the question properly before writing the answer. Hon’ble Member did not read the question, not on the prevalent success of the Delhi Government, it was on pollution and climate change. He should read the question before answering.

We have the right to breathe, should we not ensure right to breathe clean air in India? It is our human right to breathe clean air. We are actually standing in the face of natural calamity. It is a very serious calamity. Because a rich man feeling hot may put on the AC, a rich man feeling very cold may change the Daikin AC to a hotter temperature. But, when you are breathing, whether you are rich or poor, you are breathing the same air, whether the air in Delhi or the air in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which houses most number of Indians. Forty percent of the population i.e. 55 crore people live in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Due to that topography and geography of this place, there is an air lock in this area and the air keeps moving.

 So, even if a strong dust of wind east or west comes and blows away and the particle size and the particle presence reduces over Delhi it might be over Kanpur, it might be over Varanasi it might be over Kolkata and it is going back. 

So, you have to ensure clean air for not only our country India but we have to ensure clean climate, clean air, clean water for the world. It is the only planet as we know – there might be others which we do not know – but climate change is affecting the whole planet. Today’s discussion included climate change along with pollution’ and climate change is a very serious matter. We might be staring at the face of mass asphyxia. I think Hon’ble Member here were talking about the death of many people in London, in 1952. In India, in Delhi, we might be wearing a mask on face asphyxia, because the particulate matter, because of the sulphur dioxide, because of the nitrous oxide, because of the lead present, the ozone present, the carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas.

Being a doctor I know, when somebody suggests to put off the generator to keep warm, it leads to incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide is produced not carbon dioxide that reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the RBC within the body and the person will silently die in sleep due to carbon monoxide poisoning. So are we staring into asphyxia like that in our country, in Delhi? Shouldn’t we all sit up instead of politicising this issue. Shouldn’t we leave politics out of this and shouldn’t we for once think about human good, whether it is about posterity, whether it is today’s society, whether it is the elderly people. Shouldn’t we be thinking about the climate first, because we are really facing this danger?

Every individual has a right to breathe clean air, so let us strive towards this. Climate change is real, though there are many many premiers, I don’t want to name them here, of large nations who feel climate change is unreal. I don’t want to name them. 193 countries got together, they signed the Kyoto Protocol. They sat nights together in Paris, working on the do’s and don’ts to prevent such hazardous result from climate change. Not to be thrown into the dustbin.

Depending on the success of the millennium development goals, the sustainable development goals were done up with 17 goals and 169 targets. Out of which, a very important one was the climate change and this climate change. Funds must be spent on literacy or illiteracy and poverty. Because if people are illiterate, how can you prevent them from doing things like they are doing stubble burning, leading to the release of poisonous gas from the west? Many poor people burn cow dung cakes. In our state we call it “ gutiya ”; that is used for cooking. Cow dung cakes pollute the air but that same cow dung if we convert to gas (gobar gas) it is not polluting. So poverty is also linked to it. And poverty alleviation if done properly it will take care of climate change also. 

We have to be talking about water pollution, about air pollution, about the food that we are eating, the pesticides being used, the fertilisers being used, they are causing cancer. The incidents of cancer has risen, the incidents of heart attacks have risen, the incidents of lung diseases have risen because of this uncontrolled use of chemicals. The government really has to sit up and do something about that and what is air pollution we have to know. 

Forty one per cent of the air pollution is vehicular, due to the automobile emissions. As Madam was speaking there, the automobile industry doesn’t like it. Well if they don’t like it, it is their problem, it is not the problem of the people who have the right to breathe clean air. Twenty one per cent is the wind blown dust. This dust includes dry mud, asbestos, includes silicon, these little particles when they are less than 2.5 microns. They can easily go into our respiratory system and cause inflammatory reactions in our breathing apparatus and make inflammatous change in the lungs, which means the lungs become inefficient. They can not take in oxygen; even if you’re breathing the oxygen will not go into the blood, it will not supply the brain or important structures like heart and kidney. Emphysema till today has no cure, unless we are replacing the lungs, we are transplanting the lungs, which is not so common, very expensive. So Emphysema change in the lungs is going on in each of us. 

This is not a matter of tu tu main main, let us keep politics out of it. Let us not sit here and say that MP was not there, his Minister has done this, his Chief Minister has done this. Let us all work together towards giving our children, our country, our people clean air, clean water, clean atmosphere and stop, or at least try to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Eighteen per cent is contributed by industry. Why can’t we have a check on the industry? What kind of pollution they are causing? Why can’t the construction be done under cover? When buildings are being made they should be covered. Otherwise the cement is coming into the air and we are breathing it. Unknowingly we are smoking cigarettes. 

In the answer to an Unstarred Question in Lok Sabha on June 28, 2019, Hon’ble Environment Minister stated that the Central Government has notified the Comprehensive Action Plan in 2018 for prevention, control and mitigation of air pollution. Now what I want to know from Hon’ble Minister is what about the assurance Sir? Only notification will not help. We will have to monitor what is actually happening on the ground level. Monitoring and the implementation is imperative.

As I said,  even after that, power production is also giving rise to pollution because even today most of the electric power is produced by fossil fuel and that is causing pollution. So what about the commitment of moving towards renewable energy? Forty per cent of the produced energy should be renewable electricity. I don’t know what are you thinking about that.

In 2016, Government of India had come out with the draft National Wind Solar Hybrid Policy with the aim of facilitating the functioning of 10,000 MW of hybrid wind-solar plant by 2022. What is the status of that? We don’t know. In 2016 again, the Government of India had decided to instal 175 GW solar power capacity building by 2020. What about that status? 

Are you serious when we are thinking of climate change? I have been fortunate to attend few climate parliaments and also the meetings of the international renewable energy agencies, and these things have been discussed. But when I seek permission to attend a conference to be held in Abu Dhabi, I don’t get NOC from the Government. I can attend and enrich my country but we are not given NOC. 

Air quality is judged by the presence of emissions in hazardous amount. It may be sulphur dioxide (as I mentioned Ozone lid) and the annual concentration of sulphur dioxide in industrial, residential area should not be more than 50. We having more than 100 here. Nitrous oxide should not be more than 40. The particulate matter of size 10 micron per cubic metre should be less than 60.Pparticulate matter of 2.5 micron size should be less than 40. And the hazardous quality that we have here is emergency benchmark, in the level of 300 micron or 500 micron per cubic metre. Lead poisoning develops after the air polluted with lead is inhaled and people might die. People might die due to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The gentleman here was saying that all pollution in the country is settled in Delhi. No, I have the report of the Hon’ble Minister here, which says that particles of 10 micron – they are present in Bihar in 212 per cubic metre, in Chandigarh 105, in Delhi 278, in Ranchi it is like 196, in Mumbai 119, in Pune 107, in Amritsar… I don’t want to read it. It is very long, but I have the list. So, that government should take up this matter very seriously. 

The efforts of the Hon’ble Prime Minister are definitely laudable when they have eight National Missions. Out of the eight National Missions, I find the National Solar Mission, the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, National Water Mission, the National Mission for Sustainable Himalayan Ecosystem, National Mission for Green India, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture,  National Mission for Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change, it is definitely laudable.

I am sure we are moving forward. Let us work together so that we can give a clean environment to our future. Not Delhi, not Kolkata, not the country. I am talking about the world, the planet. Let us work together to save our planet.

Thank you, Sir.

Abir Ranjan Biswas speaks on The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019



Today is the second day of the session. Full afternoon, Rajya Sabha is running smoothly. Government Legislative Business is on track because all of us are cooperating 100%. We can also expect that the Government shows the same spirit of cooperation every morning always and also when Opposition voices are heard in the morning during Zero Hour and Question Hour.

My party All India Trinamool Congress stands and strongly believes that Bills must be scrutinised by Standing Committees before they are passed. This is a good way to improve legislation and not rush with them. This was one of the few Bills to be scrutinised by the Standing Committee and we welcome it, though the recommendations were not aptly taken. Sir, even though the BJP speaker who spoke highlighted the shortcomings of the Bill, you can really imagine the quality of drafting.

Sir, Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, in his novel, Never Let Me Go, portrays a scenario where a community of human clones exist only to serve the medical needs of more privileged class providing organs and bodies for use. Arti Prasad, eminent biologist and author of several nonfiction books have observed in her book, Like A Virgin, and I quote, “In the last few years, India has actually illustrated the extreme of what commercialising women’s body for reproduction looks like, something akin to the handmade steel come to life with a certain demographic, taking away the responsibility of producing children, for those who can afford the service.

Surrogacy is inherently a practice of open exploitation, particularly in a place like India, where gender inequality is so marked. In United Nations Development Programme Report 2017 on Gender Inequality, India ranked 125th among 129 countries. In 2016, Sir, a study found that expenditure on major illness for women was 28% lesser than on men in India. An analysis of (?) from numerous medical and research institutions reveal that Indian women are 74% of living kidney donors and 61% of living liver donors, but only a meagre 19% of kidney and 24% of liver recipients. Each was a legitimate donation where the woman had given consent. 

Thus we can easily say,  that in South Asian patriarchal society, in general and in Indian particularly, they are often told to donate organs and not asked to do so. Now, if this is the situation, an altruistic donation that is related to livers and kidneys we can well imagine the plight of Indian women in case of commercial surrogacy – a system only women are biologically equipped for. Poor women folk in India can be pressured to the brink of their existence by the family to bear a child of a rich couple who fancies such commercial surrogacy as going to a luxury store and asking for a service in view of money, may be little for them, but a questionable amount for the poor surrogate family.

I welcome this Bill as it will, with the provisions in it, serve as a good deterrent against repeat surrogates due to family pressure. Gynaecologists are often of the opinion that only women who do not have wombs, or have cancer, actually require surrogacy. But taking unethical advantages of situations, there are unethical practitioners and unscrupulous fertility clinics who make billions of people’s natural inability to conceive advertising themselves by inviting media to their facilities to exhibit the stay homes for surrogate mothers which are essentially jails. They appear on paid slots of TV, these professionals and fraudulent representatives. They appear on TV channels to advocate the pros and cons of surrogacy in a way as if bearing a child in a natural way is unfashionable and we find most eminent of Bollywood stars getting carried away by it and falling into the trap.

Many such clinics are rampantly present in the western part of India. Recent stories have come up in the media that rural women being exploited severely by certain unscrupulous persons by clinically unethical medical persons where a paltry sum is paid to them but they charge few millions in each case.

Sir, the Confederation of Indian Industries valued the surrogacy industry to the tune of $2 billion as per their report in 2012 and it has grown much meantime. This has been a result of processes of surrogacy by being governed by mere sort of guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Resource in 2002 which permitted the use of women to bear a child at a price. Such lax regulations gave rise to the term ‘rent ovum’.

Sir, this has unsettling implications despite its mainly ubiquitous use. The spirit of the new Surrogacy Bill seems to be guided by the framework of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, which permits only altruistic donations for all donors living or deceased and Sir Donations must be weighed for a reason of love though the donor can be compensated for medical and surgical costs.

Sir, we welcome this Bill as it will make legal provisions to take care, also legal and illegal ventures but also there are a number of areas of which more and legal provisions are needed by which this Bill can achieve the goal it is for.

Sir, I would like to elaborate on these but there are a number of cases which need our immediate attention. Firstly Sir, relating to concerns to check the rampant use of commissions and services at National and Regional levels when Boards are formed. There should be a highly powered committee in place till these are formed, which includes Members of Parliament and eminent persons in the field of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) which could inspect and monitor these clinics. The composition of national, regional service boards are dubious Sir. It should be seen that the ones who head the boards as Directors have at least 25 years of experience in ART and the members should also have experience of 20 years.

Also Sir, we can say that there are many clauses which my colleagues have mentioned, I would not repeat them but few things. Like in case of abortion, in addition to Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act ,1971, the approval of appropriate authority and surrogate mother is required. There is no time limit to grant such an approval but this time is crucial in the times of medical emergencies and pregnancies and this could prove fatal for a surrogate mother. This should be taken care of.

Sir, this is discriminatory in nature as it limits the option of surrogacy to legally married Indian couples. The Standing Committee that was headed by one of our Hon’ble colleagues in this August House, Ram Gopal Yadav Ji, recommended that this overlooks a section of society that wants a surrogate child. Sir, they recommended the eligibility be widened to include live-in couples, divorced women, widows, NRIs, Person of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India Card Holders, This is Sir, because if NRIs are going to take these opportunities outside it would be very costly for them.

Also Sir, there is a clause that to initiate the surrogacy procedure the couple needs to obtain an eligibility certificate. But for which there is time limit mentioned in this Bill. This is not in right spirit. There is no scope for appeal once the application is rejected. This should be recommended to the Standing Committee and this should be taken care of.

Thank you, Sir.       

Kalyan Banerjee speaks on The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019


Thank you Madam, for the chance to speak on this. First of all, I am supporting this Bill which has been brought regarding increasing the strength of judges. As on July 1, 2019, in the Supreme Court, 38,982 admission matters were pending, 25,419 complete miscellaneous matters were pending, 13,563 incomplete miscellaneous matters were pending and 20,730 regular hearing matters were pending. Before the five-judge Constitution bench, 43 main matters were pending, and a total of 407 matters, including 364 connected matters, were pending; before the seven-judge Constitution bench, five main matters and eight connected matters were pending; and before the nine-judge Constitution bench, six main matters, and a total of 137 matters, including 131 connected matters, were pending.

Madam, through you, I want to inform that, as on June 28, 2018, the national judicial data grid said that 3.3 crore litigations are pending in the entire country, 2.84 crore matters in the subordinate courts, 43 lakh cases in the high courts, and 57,987 cases in the Supreme Court. The highest number of pending cases are in Uttar Pradesh, the number being 61.58 lakh. Next is Maharashtra, with 33.22 lakh cases, then West Bengal, with 17.59 lakh cases, Bihar, with 16.58 lakh cases, and Gujarat, with 16.45 lakh cases. Two lakh cases are pending in courts, and the ages of these 2 lakh cases range range back to 50 years, with 1,010 cases in the later category.

This is the situation we are faced with. Cases will always go on increasing, and considering the 3.3 crore cases pending, the Central Government should come up with a proposal to increase the strength of the subordinate judiciary and the high courts. A Bill for that should also be brought.

If this is the figure for the number of pending cases for Supreme Court judges, then how many how many judges are required? Now I come to the quality of judges. I am not trying to speak against anything, I am trying to give suggestions. When I came to the profession in 1981 in Calcutta High Court in the month of November, judges took hardly two to three minutes to decide whether a matter should be admitted or not, so vastly knowledgeable were they. Now the judges take 45 minutes, even up to 1 hour 15 minutes to decide. This has to come down. Hence my suggestion on looking at the quality of the lawyers who are elevated as judges.

As a member of the Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice Committee, headed by the Chairman Bhupen Yadav, Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, we went to visit three high courts – Chennai, Mumbai and lastly, Calcutta. At all the three high courts, the best lawyers are often not accepting the post of judge, the next best ones are accepting. Why is this? There is no rule for this to happen, but a rule has been made for the Supreme Court that, unless you are at least 45 years old, you will not be offered with the post of a judge.

There is an issue that happens in the case of this age limit. As an example, we learnt that a person’s name was recommended one year back; his age was 44 years 6 months. Just because he was short by six months, the SC Collegium did not recommend his name. Now, this year, he has been called again as his case has been recommended since he has crossed 45 years and I know personally, he is a brilliant boy. Why this one year has unnecessarily gone? Is there any law? Is there any rule? Whether he is the MVP? Therefore, if you want to pick up brilliant lawyers, then do not wait upto 45 years – 40/41/42/43 years. Since I wanted to come into politics, I inform you, I got the offer at the age of 37 years 6 months. At that time it was not there, it was 1994. Now why are you bringing this down? You can appreciate, had I been accepted then what I would have been now. I am 62 plus. Naturally, why you are not picking up, you are missing the first category of lawyers, that is one of my points.

Second is the behaviour of the judges. I am not blaming everyone. Behaviour of some judges is really shocking. They do not treat the lawyers as a lawyer. Their behaviour has become so rude that sometimes it is painful for the lawyer. When a lawyer goes to court, he is not going for begging in front of the judges; he is doing the case for his client. The client may commit crime, may not commit crime, but very few, I’m not blaming the entire lot. I will request the Honorable Law Minister to bring a law so that their behaviour, their mixing with the people, everything should be covered by the law. Even if a judge commits contempt of his own, it has happened in Calcutta High Court long back when I was there. He felt that since he had uttered so many words, he had committed contempt; therefore he resigned from the judge’s seat. Nowadays, situations have changed.

Third point that I am saying is, some judges coming for two years or three years from the higher judiciary, elevated to High Court for three years, they are just passing time, nothing more than that. Nothing more than that. What is the remedy of that?

The next point is that there are recommendations of Collegiums for appointment of the judges. Madam, through you I will request the Honorable Law Minister that kindly do not keep it pending. I know your answer – I have read from the newspaper “the office of the Law Ministry is not a post-office”. Now, it may not be so, you apply your mind but kindly clear it. Either you reject it immediately or you clear it. In a case of Calcutta High Court, one of the lawyers came, he was recommended two years back, but still it is pending with the central government. I do not want to take names, I do not want to influence anyone or any person but it is still pending. Why is this? And I will request through you Honorable Chairperson, to the Law Minister, please stop giving appointments to the retired judges and rehabilitate them. If you want to bring transparency, if you want that yes our judiciary should be independent judiciary, please stop giving appointments to the retired judges. Not only them, but retired IAS officers, retired IPS officers after their terms. Please take steps to stop it and if it is stopped, I think Indian judiciary will be more independent.

Madam, at the inception, in 1950 when the Supreme Court was established, what was the judges’ strength? Judges strength was eight. Now what I will speak, I think all the Members of Parliament will like, although not directly, but indirectly connected. I will request all the Honorable Members just to hear this. Everywhere, vacancies are being increased. Tendency of the judges, tendency of the work, judges strength have increased, IPS cadres strength has increased. My question is, have you ever thought about this because of the increase of voters, now how many Members of Parliament are required? There is no increase in MPs, if the strength of Members of Parliament is increased, then there will be a hue and cry. I want to tell you, in the 1st Lok Sabha in 1951, total voters in the country were 17.321 crores and at that time the total seats of Members of Parliament were 489. It was increased to 520 in the 4th Lok Sabha that time it was 25.227 crores. Now in 17th Lok Sabha, registered voters are 90 crores! Just see, in the 1st Lok Sabha in 1951, total voters in the country were 17.321 crores, and now we are having 90 crores and 544 other vacancies.

Now in 1950, when the Supreme Court was established, the Judges’ strength was eight. Today, when the Bill would be passed, it would be 34, that is more than 400 percent. But in the case of Members of Parliament, when it was 17.321 crore voters, it was 489. Now we have 90 crore registered voters, and we have only 544 MPs. But the workload is also there. That means there has been a five-time increase. But our strength has not been increased to that extent. But in the case of the Supreme Court Judge, only eight judges were there and now there are 34. That means an increase of 400 percent. Either increase our strength or you give us helping hands. It is impossible for us to handle this 20 lakhs voters, that means another 40 lakh citizens. You give us an additional secretary from the Government. We are being blamed that we are not in a position to meet people, workload has been increased but if one paisa is increased of the MPs, there will be a hue and cry among the public. But in the case of MPs, so much injustices are there, media doesn’t see what is actually happening.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay makes Zero Hour mention on including Bhojpuri in 8th Schedule


Sir, Jagadambika Ji jo bataya, ki Bhojpuri ko 8th Schedule me shamil kiya jaaye. Kuch saal pehle Nepali bhasha ko bhi 8th Schedule mein humne shamil kiya tha. Hamari eastern zone me bhi Bhojpuri bhasha ka ek alag tarah ka majority hai. Toh yeh vishay par Sarkar jald se jald koi Bill layein aur yeh bhasha ka answer group karein, humlog bhi yeh awaaz uthate hain.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay raises a Point of Order on List of Business


Sir, confusion has been created. Once you are circulating LOB (List Of Business), then it is becoming RLOB (Revised List Of Business) and this RLOB is coming after 9pm. After the subjects that were decided to be discussed were settled yesterday, we allotted time in the BA Committee meeting. We had no idea then that new Bills are coming up the next day. Hence there was no time for preparation, for reading or studying the Bills. The Government should circulate beforehand the Bills for the next day.

Saugata Roy raises a Point of Order on the functioning of the Lok Sabha


Mera jo Point of Order hai on Rule 25 and Rule 31(1). Rule No. 31 (1) says, ‘A list of business for the day shall be prepared by the Secretary-General, and a copy thereof shall be made available for the use of every member.’ Kal jo List of Business tha, in that three Bills were included – the first was the Tribunal Commission, the second was the Dam Safety Bill. Members would have prepared for the Dam Safety Bill for today. But suddenly this morning we see that The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The POCSO Bill and the The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 are included. The Parliament cannot function at the whims and fancies of anyone. Neither the Parliamentary Affairs Minister nor the Minister of State nor the Secretary-General can change parliamentary functioning at will.

You read this, Sir, Rule 25: ‘On days allotted for the transaction of Government business, such business shall have precedence and the Secretary-General, shall arrange that business in such order as the Speaker may, after consultation with the Leader of the House, determine.’ Iss mein Business Advisory Committee nahin aata hai. You are mentioning the Business Advisory Committee. But the purpose of the Business Advisory committee is only to fix the time, the order of business and the list of business. It is prepared by the Lok Sabha.