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As it happened: Parliament Proceedings, November 17, 2016

The Opposition paralysed Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha disrupted over demand for the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his response in the demonetisation debate, which the government rejected outright. The Upper House witnessed repeated adjournments but Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comparison of Uri terror attack casualties to the number of deaths due to the demonetisation “crisis” forced the final adjournment for the day.

Members of the Opposition, led by the Congress, created uproar in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha as soon as the Houses met for the day and it continued throughout. The Lok Sabha could carry out business only during the Question Hour, that too amid the uproar, after which it was adjourned for the day minutes past 12 p.m. The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business.

Updates:

Mr. Kurien adjourns the House amid protests from both sides.

Minister Ananth Kumar is speaking, voice drowned in slogans. Mr. Kumar wants Mr. Azad's comments expunged and he and the Congress to apologise to the House.

Trinamool apparently unhappy at Mr. Kurien's call to Mr. Yechury. Mr. Kurien heard saying “don't bring WB politics into it."

Now slogans from Treasury side. Mr. Kurien calls Sitaram Yechury to speak.

Slogan shouting and angry exchanges continue. Mr. Kurien says he will look into the records

"Mr. Azad and Congress should apologise to this House

Venkaiah Naidu says Mr. Azad gave a certificate to Pakistan terror by comparing it with deaths in the past week. He wants Mr. Azad's comments expunged.

Opposition members in Well. Shouting slogans demanding PM's presence in the House.

Mr. Azad says BJP is responsible for the “murder of these people”.

LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad is speaking, says people are dying after to the move, draws protests from Treasury benches.

Rajya Sabha reconvenes, Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi rules out rollback of demonetisation move. AIADMK protests, members in the Well of the House.

Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 3 p.m.

Vikas Vasudeva reports from the Lok Sabha:

Congress leader Mallikaarjun Kharge demands that the Chair accept the adjournment motion. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar says the government is ready for a debate but it should be done under Rule 193. He makes it clear that "we are not running away from debate." With that, Congress MPs and other Opposition members start shouting, demanding an adjournment of the House.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan says it seems the Opposition members don't want discussion but just want to disrupt the House. Question Hour begins as Opposition MPs continue to shout.

Ms. Mahajan asks the Opposition MPs to stop shouting and take their seats if they want a discussion on demonetisation.

Opposition MPs continue to shout, demanding an adjournment. But they seem to be heeding little to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who yet again asks Opposition MPs to stop shouting and take their seats.

She continues with Question no.s 22, 23, 24 and 25 even as Opposition MPs continue to raise slogans. The Question Hour ends.

Ms. Mahajan says a debate on demonetisation is possible but there's no need for an adjournment. Meanwhile, there's loud slogan from the Opposition, "Vijay Mallya kahan gaya?(Where did Vijay Mallya go?)".

Congress MP Kharge says the party wants a discussion under Rule 56 of the House and not under Rule 193.

Rule 56 says, "Subject to the provisions of these rules, a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance may be made with the consent of the Speaker".

Rule 193 says, "Any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General specifying clearly and precisely the matter to be raised:

— Provided that the notice shall be accompanied by an explanatory note stating reasons for raising discussion on the matter in question:

— Provided further that the notice shall be supported by the signatures of at least two other members."

And, the House is adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

Mr. Kharge again raises the demand for an adjournment.. Ms. Mahajan says, "I have disallowed the adjournment." The Congress tries to explain the rationale behind seeking a discussion is under Rule 56. He says, "everyone can participate and can vote as well."

Amidst the uproar, the Speaker adjourns the House — till 11.00 a.m. tomorrow.

Vikas Pathak and Vijaita Singh report from the Rajya Sabha:

TMC MP Derek O'Brien begins proceedings in the Upper House. And, says, "Yesterday and today the discussion is on. But where is the person who made this announcement on Nov. 8 at 8 pm?" And, that brings about a protest from Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Thawar Chand Gehlot. Meanwhile, the AIADMK moves to the floor of the House. And, it breaks loose, many Opposition leaders flock to the floor.

The ruckus has forced an adjournment, the House will reconvene at 11.30 a.m.

More ruckus, more adjournments. Now, the House has been adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

Sources say that the AIADMK rushed to the floor of the House to protest the delay in the formation of the Cauvery Management Board.

The House is adjourned till 2.00 p.m.

Govt. defends move

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu, speaking ahead of today's session, says the House will be functional. In a reply to the Congress' demand for a JPC probe into the issue, he says, "Let's discuss and they can raise their demand. The govt. will respond accordingly."

MoS Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal makes the government's stance on the issue clear. "Where's evidence? There wasn’t any leak. The govt. ready for right criticism, but not unnecessary allegations."

A look at the major developments on Wednesday:

TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said her party would seek to move an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha over the problems faced by people following the demonetisation move.

“We will bring an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on Thursday [against demonetisation],” she said.

Ms. Banerjee and leaders of three other parties, including the Shiv Sena, an NDA constituent, sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention on the issue while Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded action against “his friends” and those who are hoarding black money.

Ms. Banerjee and 40 of her Trinamool MPs marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan and submitted a memorandum demanding rollback of demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.

Opposition divided over strategy

At a meeting of the Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) the Opposition demanded that demonetisation be debated through an adjournment motion, that would require voting at the end of the debate, rather than rule 193 that does not entail voting. The government was at pains to get the Opposition to debate the issue without voting.

This became clear when Ms. Banerjee — who led a protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan on demonetisation — was accompanied only by the National Conference, a rebel AAP MP and the Shiv Sena, which made it clear that it did not want a rollback. >More...

Legal questions on demonetisation find no answer in SC >

The legal provision under which the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) demonetisation notification of November 8 was issued only empowers the Central Government to scrap “series” of bank notes and not the “entire existing currency” of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.

Section 26 (2) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act of 1934 — the provision under which the notification was issued — allows the Centre to make a declaration only to the extent that “any series of bank notes of any denomination ceases to be legal tender.”

The argument was pressed before a Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday, and remains to be addressed by the apex court. >More...


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