Shortened Parliament Session and IP Bills

ET carried a short edit today on the impact that a shortened budget session of Parliament might have on pending bills. Apparently, given state elections in the coming months, the government (as also other political parties) are keen on winding up the budget session by the end of March (as opposed to continuing till the start of May). The edit takes a very critical view of this proposed “shortening” move and notes:

“In its hurry, the government is willing to sacrifice scrutiny of the Budget proposals by the many standing parliamentary committees and debate in the two Houses. It says that the reason for this headlong rush to clear the Budget and close Parliament is that five states are going to polls through April and May.

Ergo, MPs need to go out and sway voters, not fellow parliamentarians, with their rhetoric. There is already pressure on MPs from West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, cutting across party lines, to get out of Parliament and on the campaign trail.

In its haste to close the session this month, the government will miss its deadline to pass critical new laws to reform insurance, banking and pension funds, the government’s role in acquiring land, rehabilitation of people affected by land acquisition and mining.

….Campaigning is a critical function of a democracy, one that keeps the political system competitive and on its toes. What this government seems to be forgetting is that the parliamentary system is equally important. Debate, lawmaking and holding the government to account, the principal activities of Parliament, can’t be sacrificed at the altar of election schedules.”

This would essentially mean that two important IP bills (the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Indian Bayh Dole bill) have to wait till the Monsoon session later this year to get tabled. The copyright amendment bill has been contentious right from the word go, with fierce disputes around the “Bollywood” provisions and now more recently, around section 2(m), dealing with parallel imports.

As for the Indian Bayh Dole bill, there has been no movement at all in the last couple of months; perhaps the present Science & Tech Minister, Pawan Kr Bansal is not too keen in pushing this. Butterfly effect, some might say….a building scam in Mumbai leads to existing Science and Tech Minister, Chauhan taking up premiership in Maharastra, leaving the Ministry in the hands of Bansal….and Bayh Dole a distant memory…

So for all you IP aficionados out there, you need to look elsewhere for IP policy action this summer. Perhaps a good thing…as our monsoons have a way of tempering tempers….and cooling our heads for complicated IP debates.. informed more by light and less by heat…

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.

One comment.

  1. Anonymous

    The PUPFIP bill is taking a long time. It should have been nailed down now.
    Incidentally, he is not Chauhan but “Chavan” 🙂


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