Winter session fails to break the ice

Parliament’s winter session was finally washed out on Friday, with the presiding officers of both Houses lamenting the lost opportunity to transact crucial business.

While the Rajya Sabha ended after the laying of papers and a valedictory address by Chairman Hamid Ansari, the Lok Sabha did pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, which was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha.

Missed an opportunity

Expressing dismay over continuous disruptions, Mr. Ansari said, “I had fervently hoped that I would not have to repeat what I said at the conclusion of the 221st Session in December 2010. My hope stands belied. Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this session.

 The symbolism of dignified protest so essential for orderly conduct of parliamentary proceedings was abandoned. This deprived members of the opportunity to seek accountability of the executive through questions and discussions on matters of public interest.”

Rules ignored

“The prohibition in the rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned places was consistently ignored by all sections of the House. Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read. All sections of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation,” he said.

The House was then adjourned sine die .

In the Lok Sabha, too, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expressed her displeasure as proceedings continued to be disrupted with the Opposition demanding a discussion on demonetisation under a Rule that entails voting, something the Speaker had refused to accept.

She said disruptions maligned the institution’s image in people’s eyes.

“This is not a good thing for all of us and this maligns our image in the eyes of people.” said the Speaker, expressing hope that future sessions would be more productive. “I am hopeful of getting support of all political parties and members.”

While both Houses passed the Disability Bill, the Lok Sabha also passed the Income Tax Amendment Bill without any debate amid a din and also the Supplementary Demand for Grants.

Chaos over note ban

While the demonetisation debate began in the Rajya Sabha, it could not be concluded with the Opposition first demanding the presence of the Prime Minister and later an apology from him for demeaning Opposition parties as supporters of black money.

Towards the end of the session, even the ruling party members began shouting slogans and waving placards in the House.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 12:02:31 pm |