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Home / India News / Unprecedented scenes in Parliament’s history: Overnight protests, work beyond midnight for two consecutive evenings

Unprecedented scenes in Parliament’s history: Overnight protests, work beyond midnight for two consecutive evenings

Monday night presented the two sides of India’s parliamentarians: their commitment to work beyond the stipulated hours of the House and also to assert their democratic right to protest

india Updated: Sep 22, 2020, 11:01 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Derek O'Brien of Trinamool Congress and other Opposition members stage a protest over the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members, farmers' problems and other issues on Monday night.
Derek O'Brien of Trinamool Congress and other Opposition members stage a protest over the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members, farmers' problems and other issues on Monday night. (PTI)

The Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower House, worked till 12.24 am Tuesday, clocking a new record of sitting beyond midnight for two consecutive evenings after it did so on Sunday as well. And while the Lok Sabha was still buzzing with activity well past midnight, a group of eight lawmakers suspended for “gross disorderly conduct” on Monday organised the first overnight sit-in just outside the Parliament building near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

The lawmakers were suspended after they stormed the Well of the House and charged towards Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh on Sunday, who was presiding over the proceedings on Sunday, after two of the three farm bills were passed by voice vote. The opposition wanted the bills to be referred to a select committee and the division of votes for their passage.

Monday night, as alive as the day, presented the two sides of India’s parliamentarians: their commitment to work beyond the stipulated hours of the House and also to assert their democratic right to protest.

Also Read: Cong plans campaigns, month-long protest across India from Sept 24

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla, 57, sat through the proceedings till the House was adjourned on Tuesday morning to meet again in the afternoon. The House, which was scheduled to meet for only four hours from 3 pm to 7 pm, cleared the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill at 8.23 pm and at 11.38 pm approved the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill.

Also Read: Oppn MPs hold first-ever night protests near House

It did not stop. At 12. 22 am, the lower House cleared the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill and the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill jointly.

Marathon proceedings of Parliament are not unusual. In the 1970s and 1980s, budget discussions often spilled over the next day. But officials said that perhaps for the first time, bills were passed after midnight as the Speaker set a new standard in the performance of the House.

Also Read: More chaos in House as 8 MPs suspended

The eight lawmakers, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen; Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh; Congress’s Rajeev Satav, Syed Nasir Hussain and Ripun Borah; Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem, also took protests to a new level. They stayed overnight in Parliament, slept under the open sky, and ate whatever snacks and packed thalis made available to them. Harivansh on Tuesday morning offered tea to them.

Kareem, 67, is the eldest of the eight, and Rajeev Satav, 46, is the youngest. It was also Satav’s birthday.

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