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Parliament’s Session to begin July 18: Govt, Oppn to lock horns on Articles 35A, 370

New Delhi, Jun 25: With an unproductive run in the post budget session of the Parliament, the supreme legislative body will convene for the monsoon session starting 18 July till 10 August. Both, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be holding 18 meetings during the span.

According to PRS legislative research, the last Parliamentary session was the least productive budget session since 2000. The Upper House spent only three minutes on government bills while it was 14 minutes for the Lower House.

The Parliament during its session is expected to witness discussions on Article 35a and Article 370 of the Constitution pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre has decided not to file any “counter-affidavit” on Article 35A, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition.

Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-State resident from buying property in the State and ensures reservation in employment for residents. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, had objected to any tinkering with the provision. The matter assumes further importance after BJP, PDP split in the state.

The government also plans to pass the Constitution (123rd) Amendment Bill, 2017 that seeks to accord constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

“Other important Bills, including the Triple Talaq bill and the Transgender Bill, among others, will be brought in Parliament for passing them,” Anant Kumar said while addressing the media on Parliament sessions, adding that the government expected constructive cooperation from all political parties for a productive session.

The government will also push for constitutional status for the National Commission for OBCs. The National Commission for Medical Education Bill and the transgender bill will also be taken up. With P J Kurien’s term ending at the end of this month, the election to choose the deputy chairman for the Rajya Sabha will be taken up in this session.

Several amendments to the Goods and Services Tax law are likely to be placed before Parliament in the Monsoon Session as well.

Meanwhile, Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was reported saying that Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee should come out in support of the triple talaq Bill. “Let me make it clear that the Bill is not with regard to religion, mode of worship or faith. It has a clear linkage to gender justice, gender dignity and gender equality.

The government is also most likely to introduce Arbitration bills this session. Of those to be introduced, the Indian Arbitration Council Act, 2017, aims to have a regulatory framework for making India a global hub for arbitration.