Parliament LIVE: The Rajya Sabha today passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill that enables the government to designate individuals as terrorists, even as the Opposition said it would infringe on the liberty of a person. Addressing the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader P Chidambaram said: “If you see reasons for amendment, it says ‘to empower NIA’. In passing you say ’empowers Centre to add or remove an individual’s name as a terrorist’, this mischief is why we are opposing this amendment, we are not opposing Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
He added that it would be better for the government to hear them out in Parliament instead of “forcing us to go to a building a kilometre away” — referring to the Supreme Court. Chidambaram also said courts would strike down the amendment as it was against the rights of a person and was based on just the government’s “belief” that he/she was a terrorist. The Congress veteran said it was wrong to compare a terrorist like Hafiz Saeed with activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.
Several opposition parties have staunchly opposed the bill expressing concerns about its “draconian” provisions. The Lok Sabha last week saw a bitter debate unfold between the two sides as the opposition leaders kept pressing that the law could be used against anyone who opposed the government.
Home Minister Amit Shah at the time had countered their concerns asserting that the anti-terror laws would only be used to root out terrorism. In a controversial statement, he had also said, “There are crores of people who are working as social activists or workers…they are never being targeted (by the police). But there are a few who work for the urban Maoists and these people won’t be spared.”
The Upper House will also be considering the passage of the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 that has provisions enabling the introduction of the minimum wage for every worker. The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha with a voice vote on Tuesday, subsumes four labour laws — Minimum Wages Act, Payment of Wages Act, Payment of Bonus Act and Equal Remuneration Act. After its enactment, all these four Acts would be repealed.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha will take up a discussion on The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to do away with the nomination of the president of the Indian National Congress as a trustee of the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Trust.