Rajya Sabha proceedings disrupted thrice after opposition uproar

Proceedings of Rajya Sabha underway during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Thursday, December 15, 2022. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted thrice during the first hour on Thursday as opposition members created an uproar after the chair disallowed adjournment notices given by them on several issues, including alleged misuse of probe agencies by the government.

The House witnessed two back-to-back adjournments of 15 minutes each and then again for two minutes during the Zero Hour as opposition members raised slogans demanding that their notices be admitted for a discussion.

Soon after laying of papers, Deputy Chairman Harivansh said notices given by seven members were not allowed.

Opposition members sought clarifications on why their adjournment notices were not taken up and demanded discussions on various issues. They also cited previous precedents in the House when discussions under Rule 267 (provision to request chairman to suspend listed business to deliberate separate issue) were taken up without any mention of the rule required for suspension of business.

This led to uproar following which the deputy chairman adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes first and then again for another 15 minutes when the House met a little after 11.30 am.

Later, when the House met again Bhubaneshwar Kalita, who was in the chair, adjourned the proceedings for a few minutes till noon.

While opposition members created uproar over not being allowed discussion on issues raised by them, BJP members were also on their feet raising the issue of the Bihar hooch tragedy.

Biplab Kumar Dev (BJP) demanded a discussion on the hooch tragedy matter in Bihar instead of his listed Zero Hour submission.

BJP's Rajya Sabha MPs Sushil Kumar Modi, Shambhu Sharan Patel, Vivek Thakur and Satish Chandra Dubey come out of the House after raising the issue of the Bihar hooch tragedy during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Thursday, December 15, 2022. Photo: PTI

Seven opposition members had given adjournment notices under Rule 267 for discussing various issues of importance, which were not allowed by the chair.

Raghav Chadha (AAP), Pramod Tiwari, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, L Hanumanthaiah (Congress), Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena), Jebi Mather and Syed Nasir Hussain (Congress) had given adjournment notices on subjects related to concern over government's alleged attempt to interfere in appointment in the higher judiciary, "misuse" of CBI, ED and other government agencies, a situation arising out of farmers' strike and "subversion" of the democratic system and "threatening" of the electoral process.

"The Chairman, on December 8, while considering the notices received under Rule 267 observed that the notice submitted under the same rule has to refer to the relevant rule that is required to be suspended. In none of the notices received today there is any reflection as to which rule is sought to be suspended. Further, the notices are under the consideration of the chairman and I urge the members to kindly cooperate and allow the House to function," the deputy chairman told the members.

As the deputy chairman urged members to allow the Zero Hour to function, members raised strong objections leading to disruption of the proceedings.

O'Brien, Tiwari and Chaturvedi raised objections and urged the chair to allow discussions as held in the past.

Chaturvedi said the House should take up discussion on issues raised by them as they are of importance. She asked whether new rules are being framed to raise matters in the House.

"None of the rules state that we should quote another rule under which a discussion can happen...We are not making stories or cooking up stories like the honourable leader of the House said the other day," Chaturvedi said.

Parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Thursday, December 15, 2022. Photo: PTI

At this, Leader of the House, Piyush Goyal told Chaturvedi that she was casting aspersions.

"The member has alleged a certain number of political actions which were erroneous. She has personally cast aspersions on me. I would urge the chair to kindly examine the records and hold the member responsible for their erroneous statements," Goyal said.

O'Brien said he has a list of three of the last 267 notices accepted by the chairman - demonetisation on November 16, 2016, farmers' suicide on April 2015 and the third one on the attack on the secular fabric of our country on December 18, 2014.

"The precedence of these last 267 notices and none of them needed to link it with the rule. They were supposed to say why these three are important issues. They were taken," he noted.

He claimed that the common rule for accepting any Rule 267 notice is that all these members are asking to apply Rule 29 which gives him the prerogative to change the list of business. "Drop the Zero Hour and bring the subject to you," he stressed.

At this, the deputy chairman said any member with the consent of the chairman can raise the issue.

"I have made it clear that the chairman's consent is not there on these three issues. The chairman, on December 8, while considering the notices, has referred that no rule is mentioned. It is clear," he said.

The members raised uproar even as the deputy chairman urged members to allow the Zero Hour to function.

"Kindly allow members to speak during the Zero Hour. A discussion can take place only on listed issues," Harivansh urged the members, asking Deb to make his Zero Hour submission.

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