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…

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1 thought on “Shortened Parliament Session and IP Bills”

  1. 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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