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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