Indian Parliament witnessed strange scenes today in the live TV broadcasts. On a couple of occassions we heard the speakers of Loksabha and Rajyasabha shouting “The Ayes have it ..and the Ayes have it” indicating that some Bills were being passed into law.

However the house was simultaneously witnessing slogan shoutings asking for Mr Antulay to be dismissed for his anti national remarks and it was impossible for any proceedings to be heard. Perhaps the TV audience were at least able to make out the words of the speakers but the MPs themselves were perhaps not able to hear anything.

What was perhaps happenning was that the important legislations such as the amendments to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the new National Investigation Agency Act were being passed by our honourable members.

At the end of the day, we also came to know that the much awaited Information Technology Act 2000 amendment Bill 2000 was also passed by Loksabha.  I am sure that there were no dicussions or debates on the provisions of the Bill and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technolgoy (MCIT) must have felt a great victory since the Bill was being pursued since 2006 and the standing committee had come down heavily on the Bill a few months back.

The earlier draft which was in public domain had become irrelevant after the Parliamentary Standing committee had suggested several changes in the draft. But the MCIT closely guarded the latest version of the Bill being presented in the Parliament while at the same time giving away press releases falsely suggesting that the changes are for strengthening of the current Act. 

Now it is necessary for us to examine what is the content of the Bill as passed and find out to what extent the recommendations of the standing committee have been incorporated in the Bill.

While the passage of the Bill made a mockery of the parliamentary process of legislation, if the provisions have substantially ignored  the recommendations of the Standing Committee, then the entire process of this legislation would appear to be a fraud on the public. 

Let’s hope that this fear is unfounded.

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