GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Protection of Vulnerable Sections of the society.
For five years, Ninong Ering, a Congress MLA from Pasighat West in Arunachal Pradesh, has championed legislating menstrual leave into law.
- In November 2017, as a Lok Sabha MP, Ering introduced the Menstruation Benefit Bill 2017, a private member’s bill, in the Lok Sabha.
- Now again, as an MLA, Ering has tabled the same private member’s bill on the first day of the 2022 Budget Session in the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
Highlights of the Bill:
It seeks to provide leave for menstruating school and college-going girls, women in jobs, better facilities for rest at the workplace during menstruation, and better hygiene provisions for women and adolescent girls.
Need for paid leave:
Menstruating can be exhausting and disturbing for women, especially on the first day. Indian states such as Bihar and Kerala already provide the paid leave facility.
Given that sanitation and menstrual health are essential components of a woman’s life, one can reasonably infer that they also come within Article 21, mandating the provision of necessary conditions for women to work with dignity. The case for granting menstrual leave is, thus, a fundamental rights issue and should receive due diligence.
Who is a Private Member?
Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.
- The purpose of private member’s bill is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.
Admissibility of a private member’s Bill:
The admissibility is decided by the Chairman for Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.
- Its rejection by the House has no implication on the parliamentary confidence in the government or its resignation.
The procedure is roughly the same for both Houses:
- The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction.
- The House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.
Are there any exceptions?
While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.
Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?
As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970. To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956. In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed, the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.
Sources: the Hindu.