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Congress reiterates demand to close Parliament over COVID-19

A view of the Parliament House. | File

A view of the Parliament House. | File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

“Is Parliament exempt from the laws that it makes?” asks deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma

The Congress once again reiterated its demand to close Parliament in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, questioning whether it was exempt from the laws it made.

The party raised the question when Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu read out the norms following the leave application of TMC Chief Whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, who sought leave for “self-quarantine” because of the growing number of COVID-19-affected persons. In his leave application, he quoted the government’s orders to avoid large gatherings.

This prompted deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma to point out that Parliament was functioning as an exception to the government’s own decisions. “The government has invoked the Epidemic Act in Delhi and elsewhere in the country, is Parliament exempt from the laws that it makes?” he asked.

Flagging a Press Information Bureau notification that recommended that those above 65 should try not venture out of their houses, he told the Chairman, “I am above 65 years of age and so are you.” At this, Mr. Naidu immediately responded, “God Bless you and me, nothing will happen to us.”

Speaking during Zero Hour, when Parliamentarians are allowed to raise issues of public importance, at least three spoke on issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The CPI(M)’s Jharna Baidya demanded that biometric authentication for public distribution system be suspended till the outbreak was reined in. She said that the Left government in Kerala had already brought in this change.

Two BJP MPs, Satish Chandra Dubey and Kirodi Lal Meena, both raised the issue of Indian students who are stranded in many COVID-19-affected countries after India stopped giving visa to those coming from these countries.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:08:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-reiterates-demand-to-close-parliament-over-covid-19/article31116233.ece

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