The Constitution Club of India (CCI) will
hold 'Thursday bill briefings' during the forthcoming winter session of
parliament as part of its ongoing initiative to provide MPs a platform
for apolitical discussion on key legislations and help them play a more
effective role as lawmakers.
Jayant Chaudhary, MP and convener of CCI Thursday bill briefings, said
here that the objective of the programme was to evolve an apolitical
discussion forum of lawmakers to discuss, share and interpret
'I have always believed that an exchange of ideas and thoughts among the
parliamentarians outside the purview of the formal settings can go a
long way in developing a nuanced understanding of our legislative
framework and policies,' he said.
Thursday briefings are held every week during the period of a parliament
session. PRS Legislative Research (PRS) has been assisting the
programme as knowledge partners. CCI has, on occasions, also invited
stakeholders to present their point of view to MPs.
The forum had organised a meeting on Lokpal bill, days before Anna
Hazare began his indefinite fast at Ramlila grounds in August for a
strong anti-corruption legislation.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan had presented views on Jan Lokpal bill
to MPs and answered their queries. The MPs also got views of Nikhil Dey
on the draft of the Lokpal bill suggested by National Campaign for
People's Right to Information (NCPRI) members.
Chaudhary, a Rashtriya Lok Dal MP, said the initiative for apolitical
discussion was a brainchild of the governing council of CCI and had
started as a pilot programme during 2010 monsoon session of parliament.
He said briefings are attended by MPs cutting across party lines and
participants interact more freely than is possible in formal settings
such as standing committees.
Chaudhary said MPs are informed about the briefing through SMS and interaction at Thursday bill briefings lasts almost an hour.
CCI officials said that the number of MPs attending briefings varies.
They said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Prakash Javadekar, Communist
Party of India MP D. Raja and Congress MP Ninong Ering were among those
who have been attending the meetings frequently.
'During the briefings, there is also exchange of views between MPs on
their party positions regarding a bill,' an official said.
The bills discussed so far at the CCI briefings include the nuclear
liability bill, seed bill, MPs' salary hike bill, transplantation of
human organs amendment bill apart from different versions of Lokpal
bill. The MPs are given detailed notes at the end of briefing.
Officials said that agenda for Thursday briefing during monsoon session will be decided closer to the date of the meetings.