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Tribunal Reforms Bill passed in LS as govt, Oppn trade charges

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Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Tribunal Reforms Bill which seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies amid protests by the Opposition. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticised the Opposition for creating a “constitutional impasse” by neither allowing the Bills to pass and nor allowing any discussion on them.

“If the Opposition is ready for a discussion… We are also ready to respond…but sadly, instead of taking part in a discussion, they are creating disturbance and not even not taking any steps to stop it,” she said.

The Tribunal Reforms Bill, replacing the ordinance issued in April this year, seeks to withdraw and then replace the Cinematograph Act, the Copyright Act, the Customs Act, the Patents Act, the Airport Authority of India Act, the Trade Marks Act, and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act. The government said this would reduce another layer of litigation by abolishing tribunals or authorities under various laws.

Opposition leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “This kind of legislation will further an ominous system in our country. This (Bill) is nothing but a serious encroachment upon the judiciary. It violates (judiciary) rights.”

However, before Chowdhury could complete his statement, the Speaker appealed to the members to vote on all the clauses of the Bill which were then passed with a voice vote.

Reacting to the passing of the Bill, Congress spokesperson and MP Manish Tewari said it was a “daylight murder of democracy”. He said that the Opposition wanted a discussion on said Bill “for it encroaches on the domain of judiciary” but their demand was ignored.

“It is the right of every member to ask for a vote. The demand was not heeded and an important legislation was passed in the din,” he tweeted.

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