In his valedictory remarks to end the 252nd session of Rajya Sabha, Chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed his displeasure at the events of this week.
“Though this session has been satisfying in terms of productivity, there have been some areas of concern as well. We need to collectively ponder over these issues for making a difference in future,” he said.
Naidu mentioned that for the “first time in this history” of Rajya Sabha, a motion for removal of Deputy Chairman was given, which he rejected on the grounds that it should have been a resolution and needed a 14-day notice.
“The developments in the House surrounding this unprecedented move have been deeply painful for all those who hold the stature and the dignity of this august House dear to their hearts,” he said.
On Sunday, the Upper House witnessed ruckus as two Bills related to the agriculture sector were passed by a voice vote even as the Opposition demanded a division vote. The next day, the government brought in a motion to suspend eight Opposition leaders and that too was passed by a voice vote.
Naidu, without going into the details of “those unpleasant turn of events” appealed to the members “to kindly ensure that such unseemly behaviour is not repeated”.
Naidu said “it hurts me the most when the Chair is rendered helpless by the turn of events and has to perforce take action against the members as per the rules”.
But, he said, it was not the “first time that some members are suspended and Bills are passed when some sections of the House boycott the proceedings”.
The House rules provide for suspending members “when it becomes inevitable” and if “legislative work is not taken up during the boycott by some sections of the House, it may legitimise such boycott as an effective instrument of blocking legislation”, the Chairman said.
It is the Opposition’s “right” to protest, “but the question is how should it be done”, he said. “The floor of this august House is the most effective platform for contestation of ideas.”
Responding to remarks made by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday that the stature of the Leader of Opposition has diminished over the years, Naidu said that Azad “did not specify the period during when it has happened” but added that “it is an important observation that should not be overlooked”.
“Leader of the Opposition is very central to orderly functioning of the House and it is my firm conviction that diluting his role is unthinkable,” Naidu asserted.
In Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla said this session was “historic” in many ways, and thanked legislators for “staying late to work” despite the threat of Covid. On the last day of the session, even as there was no Opposition as they boycotted proceedings, there was much mutual admiration on show, with MPs praising Birla’s role as Speaker.
In his speech just before announcing that Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die, Birla thanked MPs for adhering to all protocols. He said MPs had been present on weekends as well, and thanked Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu for his support.
Earlier, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi said Birla needed to be thanked for taking special attention to detail in this session amid Covid. He said that in a session that has been politically tense, Birla had taken everyone along.
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