With logjam in the Upper House leaving key bills in the limbo, Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari has called an all-party meeting on Friday even as the Government said it is ready to extend cooperation but the Chair has to “act” if Opposition members are “hell bent” on disruptions.
In the meeting to be held in Parliament House, the chairman, who has repeatedly voiced his anguish over frequent disruptions in the House, is expected to urge members of all parties to allow the House to function to transact normal business.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu, meanwhile, said, the Chair should see to it that the House functions properly. “Government is ready to extend any cooperation but if somebody is bent upon disrupting and if they do it on a regular basis, the Chair has to take necessary action,” Naidu said reflecting the exasperation in the government with repeated disruptions in the House, which has taken a toll of the legislative business.
When asked what specific action the chair should take, Naidu said he does not want to say what the Chair has to do. “The chair knows its responsibility and its rights also,” he said while citing examples of the passage of Women Reservation Bill and Telangana Bill in Parliament amid massive protests in the past with the Chair resorting to the use of marshals in one case to evict the protesting members. “We have seen it umpteen times. How the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.
How the Telangana creation bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. The entire country has seen that,” he said.
Asked whether those measures are required again, Naidu merely said the nation needs measures that preserve democracy and allow debates and discussion and decision. “The President also said that discuss, debate and then decide. Do not disrupt. He has been saying it continuously. The chair also has been saying this. But the point is that there has to be somewhere the chair has to act...If they say we are not allowing this House to function. Then it is bringing bad name to democracy, the country,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.
Drawing attention to the difference between functioning of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he said the one House where the BJP has majority is functioning normally while disruption is the order in the other House where Congress has majority.