Special Session of Parliament from 18th September 2023; Agenda not Revealed
On 31st August 2023 (Thursday), Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi informed in his X handle that the government will convene a special session consisting of five sittings from 18th September to 22nd September 2023.
The agenda for this special session is yet to be informed, which hFas sparked speculations amidst the political circle. Moreover, the special session of the Parliament will not have Question Hour.
What is a Special Session?
The Indian Constitution does not contain the term “special session.” However, the summoning of these special sessions follows the provisions of Article 85(1) of the Constitution, which is the same provision for summoning regular parliamentary sessions.
According to Article 85(1) of the Constitution, “The President shall from time to time summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he/she thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.”
Instances of Special Sessions in the Past
Throughout India’s post-independence history, special sessions of Parliament have been convened for specific purposes. Notable examples include a special session of the Rajya Sabha in February 1977 to extend the President’s Rule in Tamil Nadu and Nagaland. Additionally, a two-day session took place in June 1991 to approve the extension of the President’s rule in Haryana.
In 2008, during the withdrawal of support by the Left parties from the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, a special session of the Lok Sabha was called for a trust vote. Special sessions and joint sittings have also been convened to commemorate significant national milestones, such as the 50th anniversary of the Quit India movement and India’s independence.
A historic moment occurred in 2017 when, for the first time, a Bill was discussed in a special session. On June 30, 2017, the Modi government called for a joint midnight session of both houses to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST). This event marked a significant step in India’s legislative history.
Upcoming Special Session Amidst Festivities
Amidst the festive season of Ganesh Chaturthi, India is gearing up for an unexpected political spectacle as both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha prepare to convene for a five-sitting Special Session on September 18. This move, by the BJP-led government, has stirred controversy within the political landscape, particularly among opposition parties.
Agenda not Revealed
As the dates are nearing, the agenda of this Special Session remains confidential. The unexpected nature of this session has incited outrage among Opposition circles, with numerous lawmakers expressing their concerns and calling for discussions on various pressing issues.
China’s Intrusion in Ladakh
One of the critical matters brought to the forefront is China’s intrusion into Ladakh. China’s publication of a new map depicting Ladakh as its territory has ignited concerns, and some opposition members have urged for a thorough discussion on this issue. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut welcomed the prospect of discussing China’s intrusion into Ladakh and the Manipur issue. This reflects the growing apprehension over territorial disputes with China and the need for comprehensive dialogue on these matters.
Demands for Maratha Reservation
Another significant topic that has emerged is the demand for the Maratha reservation. Following a recent protest in Maharashtra’s Jalna district and subsequent police action, there are calls for discussions on granting reservations to the Maratha community. Former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with Congress leader Ashok Chavan, has appealed to Prime Minister Modi for Maratha reservation during this special session.
Speculation Surrounds New Parliament Building
Amidst these developments, speculation has arisen that the “special session” might be the last of the current Lok Sabha. A high-level committee’s establishment to examine and recommend simultaneous polls has added to these speculations. Reports also suggest that the proceedings might be moved to the new Parliament building.
Ahead of the special session, the Congress President and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge called for a meeting of the floor leaders of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc. This meeting is expected to take place in Kharge’s official residence at Rajaji Marg, New Delhi.