Mar 9, 2022

Repeal of the farm laws: What are farmers waiting for?

Smriti Rao

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Parliament will take up the repeal of the farm laws in its Winter Session (mid-November to mid-December). He made this declaration in his address on 19th November 2021, on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti. Farmers’ bodies have welcomed this move but said they will wait for the repealing of the three farm laws in Parliament before they stop their protests. Let us see what process the government has to follow to give effect to this announcement. How is a law repealed? There are two ways in which the government can repeal a law—
  1. Parliament can pass a new law on the same subject-matter with a repealing clause.
  2. Parliament can pass a repealing act which can include the repeal of multiple laws. This happened in 2019 when the Government repealed 58 obsolete laws.
Both processes involve the passing of a new act of law. How is a law passed? Acts for repeal of a law are ordinary bills, which means that they only require a simple majority (51% or more) in both Houses of the Parliament i.e., the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass. To pass a Bill, the Parliament has to follow this process:
  1. Introduction of a Bill
A minister can move a motion in either house with 7 days’ notice. Another minister can object to the introduction of the Bill on the ground that it lies outside the jurisdiction of the Parliament, or it is in violation to the provisions of the Constitution of India, 1950. If it is introduced, it is called the “First Reading” of the Bill.
  • Reference to a Standing or Select Committee
The House in which the Bill was introduced can refer it to a Standing or Select Committee for deeper examination. This is an optional step and the other House can also do this, if the introductory House does not refer the same.
  • General Discussion
This is the stage after the Committee gives its report. There is a general discussion, and time for debate is allotted according to the strength of each party.
  • Clause-by-clause Discussion
This is known as the “Second Reading” where the Members of Parliament read and discuss each clause. At this stage, Members can suggest amendments, which may be included, if the majority of the members present and voting accept it.
  • Final Vote
This is known as the “Third Reading” of the Bill where a debate is conducted, and a vote is taken to pass it with the amendments. A simple majority is needed to pass the Bill.
  • Other House
When the First House passes the Bill, it is sent to the other house for consideration and passing.
  • Presidential Assent
After both the Houses pass the Bill, the President must sign it. The President can choose to sign it or return it for reconsideration. In the latter case, if the Parliament returns the Bill without any changes, the President is obligated to give their assent. After this, the Bill becomes an Act.   To understand the impact the farm laws would have had on farmers and the agricultural sector, you can read our previous blog on this issue.

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