In a significant move, the Indian Parliament is gearing up for a special session set to commence on September 18, where the proceedings will kick off with a unique and momentous event known as ‘Samvidhan Sabha.’ This extraordinary session will serve as a platform for an in-depth discussion on the 75-year journey of the Indian Parliament, harkening back to its inaugural gathering on December 9, 1946.
Among the key legislative matters on the government’s agenda for this session, four bills take center stage. One of the notable bills is the ‘Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill,’ initially introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session on August 10. This bill holds the potential to reshape the framework governing the appointment, terms of service, and conditions of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners.
Another highlight of this session is the ‘Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023,’ which seeks to amend the Advocates Act of 1961, and the ‘Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023,’ which aims to repeal the archaic Press and Registration of Books Act from 1867. These bills signify the government’s commitment to modernizing legal frameworks that impact the legal profession and the media landscape.
Adding to the legislative roster is the ‘Post Office Bill, 2023,’ which was initially presented in the Rajya Sabha on August 10, 2023, with the intent to replace the antiquated Indian Post Office Act of 1898.
One of the most significant changes proposed in the ‘Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners Bill’ is the alteration of the appointment process. Under this bill, a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister will recommend the appointment of Election Commissioners. This proposed change contradicts the Supreme Court’s March 2023 judgment, which favored a different appointment procedure.
To foster discussion and consensus-building, the government has also arranged a meeting of floor leaders from all political parties on September 17, a day before the official commencement of the five-day session. This proactive approach to dialogue demonstrates the commitment to democratic principles and cooperation within the Indian political landscape.
As the nation eagerly awaits the proceedings of this special parliamentary session, it is a moment of reflection and reform, marking 75 years of parliamentary democracy in India and the potential for significant legislative changes on the horizon.