Chairman Hamid Ansari's decision to adjourn the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha at the stroke of midnight on Thursday may have attracted some criticism but the act actually prevented a precedent that could have led to a constitutional crisis.
Officials in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said the criticism in some quarters that Mr. Ansari could have extended the session beyond its scheduled expiry by midnight of December 29 on the ground that it was the Sense of the House, does not hold water.
The officials said there was no unanimity especially since the government said it was not prepared to go for an extension as it needed time to reconcile the 187 amendments — some of which it said were contradictory — moved by the members.
“In effect there was no clear ‘Sense of the House' but at best it was a majority view minus the government,” they said, adding that the option of acceding to such a position would have created a dangerous precedent leading to a constitutional crisis.
Turning the argument around, they said, at a later date a similar majority in the House, in which the government does not have the numbers, can also demand that a session be curtailed.
Advancing it further, the officials argued that going against the opinion of the government would mean its absence in the House, which was a perfect recipe for a first-rate crisis.