Parliament continues to be paralysed over Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe into the Adani Group

Government and opposition trade charges on parliamentary conduct and conventions over a day of uproar and adjournments in both Houses

February 06, 2023 08:59 pm | Updated February 07, 2023 07:55 am IST - New Delhi

Opposition MPs stage a protest in front of the Gandhi statue demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Adani Group issue, at the Parliament premises, in New Delhi on Monday.

Opposition MPs stage a protest in front of the Gandhi statue demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Adani Group issue, at the Parliament premises, in New Delhi on Monday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Parliament failed to start the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address on Monday as Opposition members in both in the Lok Sabh and the Rajya Sabha continued with their protests over their demand to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the allegations of fraud against the Adani Group.

Ever since a report by New York-based investor research firm, Hindenburg Research, accused the Adani Group of corporate fraud and brazen manipulation of the stock markets, Opposition parties have been pressing for a discussion on its impact on public financial institutions like the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and the State Bank of India (SBI), which have invested in several projects of the port-to-power conglomerate.

Congress’ chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh tweeted after the Upper House was adjourned 12 minutes after the day’s proceedings started at 11 a.m.: “Yet again for the third day in a row Opposition not allowed to even mention in Parliament its legitimate demand for JPC into PM-linked Adani MahaMegaScam. Adjourned till 2pm. Modi Govt is simply running away!”

“The facts are- Congress is least interested in letting Parliament run. They are least bothered about pro-people legislations being brought and they detest the historic productivity of Parliament under the Modi Government,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi responded to Mr. Ramesh’s tweet

Explained | Adani Group stocks: What is Hindenburg Research, and how does a short seller operate? 

In the Lok Sabha, as soon the House met after the weekend break, opposition members, mostly Congress MPs, entered the Well of the House and started shouting slogans such as “Adani sarkar shame-shame”.

Urging the members to go back to their seats, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told the Congress MPs, “Have people elected you for sloganeering in Parliament? You have ruled this country for a long time. Such behaviour is not good on your part. You are not interested in allowing the House to function properly.”

When Opposition members did not relent after Mr. Birla assured them they would be given the opportunity to raise their issues, the Speaker charged the Opposition with having organised a plan to disrupt the proceedings and adjourned the House until 2 p.m.

Opposition parties continued their protests even after the House resumed post lunch. “I request you to let the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address be allowed to take place as it is part of the parliamentary convention. Whatever you want to say, you can say during the debate and the government will reply,” Mr. Joshi said. The Lower House was adjourned for the day soon after the official papers were laid on the table.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned within 12 minutes of its sitting on Monday after Chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar rejected notices moved by opposition members under Rule 267 to suspend the notified business for a debate on the impact on SBI and LIC as a fallout of the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group.

Watch | What is the Adani-Hindenburg saga all about?

A total of 10 notices had been moved by the opposition MPs.

The opposition benches roared in protest after Mr. Dhankhar declined to accept the notices, which he said were not in order. His exhortations to bring in order were ignored by the opposition.

“Now, the established practice that a direction has been imparted to frustrate the functioning of the House, to put it in disorder is certainly beyond the expectations of the people. We are not honouring their aspirations. We are not acting in accordance with what we are expected to. This is an outrage of rules; this is an outrage of expectations. The House is not being allowed to run,” Mr. Dhankar said before adjourning the House till 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the House for the day in the post-lunch session after the opposition did not relent. “I find that we must continue with our listed business. And that is what we should be doing. We must not raise the issues which have been determined finally. The House knows, the illustrious Members of the House know, that the listed business affords them all opportunity of expression. It defies logical reason why we are not availing it,” Mr. Dhankhar said.

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