Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday assured the House that experienced MPs like former prime minister H D Deve Gowda would be given preference to express views on important issues, and not the rule book.
While felicitating Dhankar as new Rajya Sabha Chairman on Wednesday, it was suggested by some that experienced members should be given adequate time to express views on legislations and issues of national interest.
"Believe in the Chair. The Chair is not partisan. The Chair is national," Dhankhar said while making an observation during the Question Hour on day two of the winter session of Parliament.
The chairman also urged the MPs to rise above party lines on important issues.
Rajya Sabha rules provide for the allocation of time during debates as per the strength of a political party - the larger the number of MPs more is time is given to the party. Gowda is the sole member of his party (JDS) in the House and hence is allocated the least time to put forth his views.
Observing that the House has two former prime ministers - H D Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh - as MPs, the chairman said their views on important matters would serve as an input to the entire nation.
"If on an issue honourable former prime minister H D Deve Gowda would like to speak that will be an input to the entire nation. I would first look at him, his vision and then the rulebook," said Dhankhar.
He further said senior MPs like Jairam Ramesh (Congress) too would be given time if they want to intervene on the subject of their expertise.
"The chairman is the ultimate custodian and protector," he assured the House.