The Prime Minister replied to the Motion of Thanks in Rajya
Sabha.  During his speech he emphasised
on the importance of Question Hour, cooperation from the Opposition for passage
of bills and coordination between the two Houses.  An amendment to the Motion of Thanks moved by
the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House regarding the right to contest
elections at all levels including panchayats was passed (Ayes: 94, Noes: 61).

The Upper House took up discussion on the prevailing
agrarian crisis in the country.

The National Waterways Bill was also taken up for consideration
by Rajya Sabha. At the time of sending
this report, the bill was being discussed.

The Railway Minister in Lok Sabha replied to the discussion
on the Railway Budget. The Minister informed the House that the Railways was
working to increase capital expenditure and looking to augment revenue through monetization
of data, advertisements etc.

Lok Sabha passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.  The Bill amends
the 1968 Act that regulates enemy properties, i.e. properties which had been
taken over by the central government from citizens of countries with whom India
was at war (Pakistan and China).

 As per the Act, an
office of the central government was the custodian (trustee) to such properties.
The owners of enemy property had the right of sale. The new bill amends this and
declares all such transactions of sale, whether they had taken place before or
after 1968, to be void. Members during the debates raised several concerns
about the increased litigation that may arise once all such previous
transactions are nullified.

The new bill does not allow courts to look into matters
regarding enemy properties and only allows the application of writ jurisdiction.
Members questioned the rationale behind limiting the court’s jurisdiction with
regard to enemy properties. Members also raised their concerns about the changed
definition of ‘enemy’ as per the bill, which will now include the legal heirs
of these properties who may be Indian citizens.

During the debate several members across parties urged that
the Bill be sent to a standing committee for greater legislative scrutiny as
they felt there may be constitutional issues as well

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The Aadhar Bill, 2016 has been listed for passage during
this week. Our note highlights some issues that may be considered with regardto various provisions of the bill.

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