Parliament proceedings | India

Parliament proceedings | Rajya Sabha passes two Bills amid protests over Raut’s arrest

Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on August 1.

Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on August 1. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill and the Indian Antarctic Bill amid disruptions over the arrest of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. The amendments moved by the Opposition members to both the Bills were defeated after a voice vote and Vice-Chairman Bhuvaneshwar Kalita did not allow the demand for a division on the ground that the Opposition members were protesting from the Well of the House.

The Opposition members accused the government of misusing probe agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, pointing to the treasury benches, said attempts were being made by “your friend” to destabilise democratically elected governments and the Chair was silent on events happening in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Assam. He said the Opposition had given several notices demanding a discussion on various issues, including price rise and the death of 100-150 people in Gujarat due to spurious liquor, but the Chair was silent.

As soon as the House assembled at 11.00 a.m., Shiv Sena’s Anil Desai trooped into the Well to protest against Mr. Raut’s arrest. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu denied an audience to the member and adjourned the House till 12 noon. “That has nothing to do with the House. ... You are harming interest of others. You cannot use the House.... You settle the scores outside,” Mr. Naidu said.

Price rise discussion

After the House resumed at 12 noon, the Question Hour was taken up amid protest and sloganeering by the Opposition. Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said the price rise discussion as being demanded by the Opposition for the past two weeks would be listed for discussion on Tuesday at 2.00 p.m. “They have been demanding that price rise be discussed. ...Today, it is listed in the Lok Sabha. Tomorrow, it will be listed in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition had collectively assured us that once the date is finalised and it is listed, they will allow the House to run properly. We are law-makers and not law-breakers. Those who break the law face the consequences of the law….I would appeal to them to let law take its course. The government cannot interfere in the law enforcement agencies...They are doing their job,” Mr. Goyal said. He added that if the House was not allowed to function “per force, we would be required to run the House late every day or extend the working of the House.”

At 2.00 p.m., the House took up the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill and soon after that the Indian Antarctic Bill was also taken up. In his brief remarks, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said all members recognise that terrorism was a serious threat and so were weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He said amendments were necessitated as the current law covered only trading and not financing of weapons of mass destruction. “This gap needs to be filled because recommendation...of the Financial Action Task Force requires all countries, including us, to ensure that assets financing for WMD-related activities is prohibited. So keeping in mind this lacunae of the current law we have brought this amendment. This is good for the security of the country. This is good for the reputation of the country,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

On the Antarctic Bill too, the process of passage took place amid protests. Both the Bills were passed with a voice vote. The Opposition questioned this, but Mr. Kalita said the House should be in order to allow the division


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2022 10:27:33 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-passes-bill-to-ban-funding-of-weapons-of-mass-destruction/article65711102.ece