Transgender Rights Bill and Surrogacy Bill Lapse as Rajya Sabha adjourns Sine Die

With Rajya Sabha being adjourned sine die, and the last Parliament Session of the 16th Lok Sabha coming to an end, many of the bad Bills that the Modi Govt. passed in the Lok Sabha will now lapse. These bills include The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 and The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. Some other Bills that will also lapse, and faced major opposition from the public are The Citizenship Amendment Bill and The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, or the Triple Talaq Bill.

The rules say: “A Bill pending in Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by Lok Sabha does not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha but a Bill which is passed by Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.” (empahsis ours). Since this is the last Parliament Session before the next Lok Sabha elections, any bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha will lapse now, and will need to be reintroduced afresh in the next Parliament Session after the new government is elected.

Despite being sent to the Parliamentary Committee, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights Bill) retained many of the original provisions of the badly drafted bill. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, and the transgender community had been up in arms against it. A protest was organised in Delhi by the transgender community, where trans people from across India came to Delhi to join the protest.

Similarly, the Surrogacy Bill barred LGBT couples, single parents from availing surrogacy for parenthood. It also had outlawed commercial surrogacy. Another contentious bill brought in by the Modi government was The Citizenship Amendment Bill. The Bill sought to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. The whole of the north-eastern India was protesting against the Bill. Many NDA allies in the north-east had threatened to quit the alliance or government if the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha.

If the new government has to bring in these bills again, it must re-introduce them again in the 17th Lok Sabha after the general elections in May.

Sukhdeep Singh