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Winter session of Parliament: All-party meeting today; Here's what on the agenda

The Ethics Committee's report on the alleged "cash-for-query" incident involving Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra is set to take center stage on the inaugural day of the Winter Session in the Lok Sabha.

Winter session of Parliament: All-party meeting today; Here's what on the agenda AJR
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First Published Dec 2, 2023, 11:31 AM IST

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has convened a crucial meeting today, drawing together the floor leaders from various political parties in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The objective is to meticulously plan the legislative course and ensure a seamless run of parliamentary affairs through the upcoming Winter Session, slated for 15 sittings until December 22.

Anticipated to grace this significant assembly are prominent BJP figures, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.

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Currently, Parliament holds a backlog of 37 bills, with 12 earmarked for consideration and passage, while seven bills are in line for introduction, consideration, and subsequent passage. Notably, among the proposed legislation are three bills aimed at replacing archaic colonial-era laws: the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Evidence Act.

Among the pending bills, a significant one concerns the appointment procedures for the chief election commissioner and election commissioners. Despite the previous special session, the government refrained from pursuing its passage, under the pressures exerted by the opposition and former chief election commissioners. The bill seeks to elevate the status of the CEC and ECs, aligning it with that of the cabinet secretary, from their current status equivalent to a Supreme Court judge.

Additionally, the Ethics Committee's report on the alleged "cash-for-query" incident involving Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra is set to take center stage on the inaugural day of the Winter Session in the Lok Sabha. This report, backed by a 6:4 majority in the committee, including members such as Preneet Kaur, the wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, now affiliated with the BJP, strongly recommends severe punitive measures.

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The draft report has strongly articulated the committee's stance, advocating for the expulsion of Mahua Moitra from the Membership of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha due to purportedly objectionable, unethical, and potentially criminal conduct. It further urges an intensive, time-bound, legal, institutional inquiry by the Government of India into the matter.

However, it's pertinent to note that the House must officially adopt the report before the expulsion, as recommended by the committee, can be enforced.

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