Legislative backlog in the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of Parliament, has left 25 government bills pending, with some dating as far back as 1992. These unresolved bills encompass a wide range of issues, reflecting the complexity and diversity of India’s governance.
Among the notable pending bills is the Delhi Rent (Amendment) Bill, 1997, aimed at regulating rent, repairs of rented premises, and tenant evictions in the national capital. Another bill pertains to amending the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act to relax certain conditions for the appointment of regulators. These bills, along with others, remain in limbo, awaiting resolution.
In contrast to the Lok Sabha, where bills introduced typically lapse with the dissolution of the House, the Rajya Sabha, as a continuing chamber, is not subject to dissolution. Consequently, bills introduced and pending in this House persist on the legislative agenda unless formally withdrawn by the government.
The most ancient draft legislation awaiting resolution in the Rajya Sabha is the Constitution (79th Amendment) Bill 1992, which addresses the adoption of a two-child norm for panchayat (local government) polls. The bill’s prolonged pendency is attributed to a lack of consensus among political parties in favor of its provisions.
Several other bills covering diverse areas remain in legislative limbo, including the Seeds Bill, 2004; The Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy Pharmacy Bill, 2005; The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2008; The Mines (Amendment) Bill, 2011; and The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2011.
The list of pending bills extends to encompass various regions of India and issues such as legislative councils, representation of marginalized communities, property rights, and employment-related laws. Notably, these pending bills also include legislation related to non-resident Indian marriages, river water disputes, and pesticide management.
In the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament, the government introduced additional bills, including The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023; The Post Office Bill, 2023; and The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, further adding to the legislative workload of the Rajya Sabha.