Venkaiah Naidu flays tearing of copy of Minister’s statement in Rajya Sabha

Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu conducts the proceedings of the House during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday described the snatching and tearing of the copy of the IT Minister’s statement in the House as an assault on the country’s parliamentary democracy.

Expressing anguish over the frequent disruptions in the House after the laying of papers, Mr. Naidu made a passionate appeal to members to allow the smooth functioning of the House so that more meaningful discussions like the one on COVID-19 issue could be held.

He also posed several questions to the members to ponder over the developments that have taken place in the House.

Referring to the statement of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the Pegasus spyware issue, Mr. Naidu said he had made it clear in the business advisory committee meeting that members may seek clarifications which would have enabled them address their concerns in the matter.

“But unfortunately, the proceedings of the House hit a new low with the papers being snatched from the Minister and torn into pieces and thrown in the air. Such actions are a clear assault on our parliamentary democracy,” he said in the House.

“They do not cover the world’s largest democracy with glory. Should the members of Parliament be a party to degrading the country’s standing in the world stage,” he asked.

The Chairman said it was also agreed in the BAC meeting that a detailed discussion on various aspects of the country’s economy will be held for four hours and he even suggested to the Government and the opposition to sit together and prioritise the legislative and other agenda for the session.

He said while some Opposition leaders even appreciated this suggestion, but to his dismay, things turned out to be different in the House.

“The turn of events in the House brings us to the question of what drives the disruptions in Parliament? Is it only political grandstanding,” he asked.

He said he has stressed earlier that Parliament is much more than a political institution given its Constitutional mandate. “But there seems to be scant respect for the Constitution and the sanctity of Parliament. It’s very unfortunate.” The Rajya Sabha Chairman said disruptions do not go well with the moment of 75 years of Independence and asked MPs not to be party to the lowering the country’s standing on the democratic world stage.

Reminding members that they were custodians of parliamentary democracy, he said they should speak for the people and the States they represent.

“Disrupting the House is certainly no way of doing justice for which you are all here,” he said.

In a fervent appeal to all sections of the House to enable smooth functioning by rising above narrow political considerations, he said, “disruptions only halt the march of our nation besides letting the people down.” “In three weeks from now, we will be entering the 75th year of our hard fought Independence. The spirit of its celebration should not be marred by a dysfunctional Parliament. Our freedom struggle was all for self-governance with our people as the masters. But what is being witnessed in Parliament is to the contrary,” Mr. Naidu said, noting that it does not resonate with the moment of 75 years of our freedom from the colonial rule.

He said as Chairman he was deeply distressed by the course of events in the House and expected the members to be equally anguished.

“If so, we shall find a way out of the present state of affairs. We are anguished and so are the people. Let Parliament function smoothly and bring shine into the lives of the people,” he said.

Mr. Naidu was referring to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Santanu Sen snatching papers from the Information Technology Minister and tearing them in the House on Thursday.

Mr. Sen was suspended on Friday after a motion in this regard was passed with voice vote. Sen, however, did not leave the House despite being told to leave.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 9:21:13 AM |

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