Constitution & Law Current Affairs - 2019

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

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Rajya Sabha question hour shifted from 11am to 12 noon

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has decided to shift Question Hour in Rajya Sabha from 11 a.m. to 12 noon for the upcoming Winter Session. Thus, Question Hour in Rajya Sabha will be between 12 PM and 1 PM instead of 11 am. As per new rules, the proceeding of the Rajya Sabha will start with ‘Zero Hour’ which will be between 11am to 12 noon. The move aimed to ensure disruption-free proceedings during this segment.

Rules Committee of Parliament had given final nod to the change these timings. Rajya Sabha Secretariat has issued the notification to this effect and it has been communicated to all Ministries.

Reason for shift in timing of Question Hour

Question Hour, which marks the beginning of a day’s proceedings of a House of Parliament, is often witness to disruptions by members who want to raise issues.

Normally, no issues can be raised during the Question Hour except those related to the questions listed for the day. Other issues can be raised during the Zero Hour.

Earlier in 2011, the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha was shifted for a few days to 2-3 pm so that the House could function normally in the first half. But, it was subsequently discontinued and the Question Hour switched back to its usual timing of 11 am.

  • Question Hour: During this time, the members of Parliament ask questions and the ministers usually give answers. There are three kinds of question which can be asked during Question Hour. They are starred, unstarred and short notice. Question Hour is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
  • Zero Hour:  It is a period during which Member of Parliament (MPs) get chance to raise matters of public importance that need immediate attention of the government without any prior notice. It is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of Parliament and Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedure since 1962.

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Cabinet decides to withdraw Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2014

On 5th November 2014,  Union Cabinet decided to withdraw the Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2014 which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the then UPA Government in February 2014.

Reason’s for withdrawal of Bill

  • The NDA Government’s withdrawal decision comes in the wake of certain judgments of the Supreme Court and the Lucknow Benchof Allahabad High Court.
  • The Government had also received several representations against the bill.
  • The Government feels that, the Bill needs to be further amended after taking into account the judgments of the courts, representations and other recent developments.

Cabinet also notified that, this Bill will be introduces after fresh set of amendments and detailed examination of court judgments and several representations.

Fresh set of amendments will be finalised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Background of withdrawn Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2014

  • The objective of the Bill was to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) to regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food items.
  • The Bill had specified that the chairperson shall guide and oversee the FSSAI, preside over its meetings and exercise any other powers of the FSSAI as may be assigned to him.
  • Under withdrawn Bill, the FSSAI consisted of a chairperson and twenty-two members.
  • The Bill had proposed to add the Chief Executive Officer as a member of the FSSAI.

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