Venkaiah Naidu considers code for Rajya Sabha MPs
The possibility of amending house rules to suspend promptly Rajya Sabha members of parliament who repeatedly disrupt proceedings.Updated: Oct 23, 2019 02:13 IST
Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu, the vice president of India, is expected to discuss with parties across the political spectrum, the possibility of amending house rules to suspend promptly Rajya Sabha members of parliament who repeatedly disrupt proceedings, a government official said on condition of anonymity.
Naidu is also expected brainstorm with them on a code of conduct aimed to discourage lawmakers from rushing to the well of the house to protest against the government or political parties, this person added.
Tired of regular disruptions that marred the performance of the Upper House, Naidu formed a two-member expert panel in May 2018 to look into amendments of rules with an eye on increasing productivity of the Upper House. Former Raiya Sabha secretary general VK Agnihotri and retired law ministry official SR Dhaleta submitted their report to the chairman last year but there was not much movement thereafter. Officials point out as the general elections were due at the time.
It has now been revived.
The official pointed out that it is perhaps even more important now, because, unlike in its first term in power, the Bharatiya Janata party-led National Democratic Alliance is no longer at a disadvantage in the Rajya Sabha as evident from the fact that it has managed to get several laws through the house. Disruptions, this person added, will hurt the legislative agenda of the NDA and therefore, “the ground is set to amend rules and possibly include automatic suspension of disruptive MPs in the Rajya Sabha rule book.”
The Lok Sabha’s Speaker can suspend disruptive MPs simply by mentioning their names and bar the lawmakers from attending House for a maximum period of five days. In the Upper House, the chairman can only suspend lawmakers after going through a lengthy process that includes moving a motion in the house for the approval of other members.
The Agnihotri-led panel, other government officials said, has made a number of recommendations and also underlined the difference in the rules of the Lok Sabha and that of the Rajya Sabha in the day-to-day functioning of the House. “The panel was also asked to clarify the rules so that there is little scope of (alternative) interpretation by people of different political background.”
During a recent informal conversation, Naidu said that in his entire political career, he has never rushed to the well of the house and that he remains committed to improve the functioning of the Rajya Sabha. In the 2016 winter session, the Upper House could utilize just 18% of its allotted time due to disruptions; similarly, in the 2018 budget session, the Rajya Sabha utilized 24% of its total time.
At an event in 2017, Naidu urged parties to draft a code of conduct for their lawmakers.