Today's Paper

Winter session of Parliament unlikely amid rising COVID cases

Nearly 40 MPs had tested positive during the monsoon session.FIle photo  

The winter session of Parliament that usually commences by last week of November is unlikely to be held due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, according to sources.

As per parliamentary records, there have only been three instances in the past of the winter session not being held — in 1975, 1979 and 1984.

The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) meets to decide the dates for the session and the announcement has to be made giving Members of Parliament at least two weeks’ notice. So far, the CCPA has not met and the government is mulling over combining the Budget session of Parliament, which usually begins on February 1, and the winter session.

The Constitution mandates there should not be a gap of six months or more between two sessions. With the monsoon session of Parliament held in September, the government has no constitutional compulsion to hold a winter session.

During the monsoon session of Parliament, nearly 40 MPs tested positive for the virus. Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also tested positive soon after the conclusion of the winter session. So far three MPs — Kanniyakumari MP H. Vasanthakumar, Tirupati MP Balli Durga Prasad and Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Gasti have died due to complications arising from COVID-19 infection. None of them had attended the session.

The monsoon session that was called on September 14 was supposed to go on till October 1, with a total 18 sittings. It was cut short by eight days and concluded on September 24. The previous Budget session of Parliament too ended abruptly on March 23 for a similar reason.