‘Disruptions due to Centre’s silence on key issues’

There was no consensus at a meeting of the Rajya Sabha floor leaders, convened on Sunday by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, to consider strict measures for a smoother functioning of the Upper House. Opposition leaders insisted that disruptions were due to the Centre’s silence on important issues.

The meeting was held on the eve of the residual budgetary session of Parliament, which is likely to see a showdown between the government and the opposition. Starting with the coal issue, the NDA is expected to launch a broadside on the JPC report on 2G spectrum that is slated to be tabled on April 25.

In his opening remarks at the meet, Mr. Ansari said he was distressed over the unruly behaviour of a few members when the issue of alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan forces had come up for discussion and sought the leaders’ views on three specific proposals mooted by him — deferred telecast of the proceedings, automatic suspension of disorderly members and naming them in a House bulletin. However, the leaders expressed reservations on the proposals and maintained that they would not the serve the intended objective.

Mr. Ansari was referring to unruly scenes on the last day of first phase of the Budget session on March 23 when AIADMK members rushed into the well of the House and disrupted proceedings.

Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Arun Jaitley said the House would run on the sense of responsibility of the members and automatic suspension in situations where minority became majority.

Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress said the suggestion of deferred live telecast was not practical and would not address the problem.

“The public has right to know what is happening in the House,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters after the meeting.

Mr. Yechury said there was a technical problem as rules of both the Houses say the Chair can expunge unparliamentary remarks.

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