Rajya Sabha adjourns sine die; second-shortest monsoon session so far
Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said the session was being concluded ahead of time due to the spread of the Covid-19Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 16:35 IST
With the passage of 25 bills and introduction of six others, Rajya Sabha records showed 100% productivity during the monsoon session that was held amid the Covid-19 pandemic and adjourned sine die on Wednesday. This was also the second-shortest monsoon session of the Upper House since 1952. Instead of the scheduled 18 sittings, only 10 sittings were held between September 14 and 23. The House was scheduled to wind up on October 1.
Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said the session was concluded ahead of time as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to challenge humankind nine months after its outbreak.
He said Rajya Sabha consistently recorded its highest productivity in the last four sessions and it was “praiseworthy”. In his closing remarks, Naidu said a record amount of time (about 58% of the number of business hours) was spent on bills during the session, as against an average of 28% over the years.
More allotment of time to bills, he said, justified the purpose of this session in which the Question Hour was dispensed with.
Opposition parties had protested the doing away of the Question Hour, pointing out that it infringed upon their right to seek answers from the government.
The monsoon session that was marked by many firsts—including the schedule being limited to four hours, no weekend breaks and staggered sitting arrangements for MPs—also witnessed a ruckus on Sunday when some members of the Opposition surrounded deputy chairperson Harivansh’s desk to protest against the decision of not spending more time discussing the contentious farm bills.
Referring to the ruckus that led to the suspension of eight Opposition MPs, their day-long protest inside Parliament complex, the Opposition parties’ subsequent walk-out and the deputy chairperson’s one-day fast, Naidu said the session had brought forward some concerns, like the notice for the deputy chairman’s removal.
“It is our collective responsibility to avert such an unpleasant turn of events. The suspension of members is unpalatable but forced,” he said, adding that while protesting was the Opposition’s right, it was the manner of protest that needed attention.
According to Rajya Sabha Statistical Information 1952-2018; the 252nd session saw just 10 sittings, making it the second shortest of all the 69 monsoon sessions that have been held so far.
Records show that the 110th session held in July, 1979, and the 187th session held in October, 1999, which were also monsoon sessions, comprised six sittings each.
The 89th session of the House, the monsoon session, held during July-September, 1974, remains the longest monsoon session with 40 sittings. This is also the longest of all the 252 sessions of the House held since 1952.
So far, three sessions, including the current session, have had 10 sittings or less;16 sessions were held for 11 to 20 sittings each; 40 sessions had 21 to 30 sittings each; nine had 31 to 39 sittings each and one session had 40 sittings.
The 76th session of Rajya Sabha, also the monsoon session, had 18 sittings during August-September, 1976. Six other monsoon sessions had 16 to 17 sittings each.
Rajya Sabha records show only the 187th session with 6 sittings was held in October. This was the first session that took place after then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee assumed office for the third time.
Of all the 252 sessions of the Rajya Sabha so far, the 111th session remains the shortest with just one sitting on August 20, 1979. This was on account of then Prime Minister late Shri Charan Singh resigning the same day.
Typically, monsoon sessions are held during the months of July-August; this year, due to the pandemic, the session was delayed and Parliament could reconvene only in September. The budget session that precedes the monsoon session also had to be cut short in March when the Covid-19 outbreak occurred.