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From the gallery: On introduction of the GST bill

Lok Sabha passed a resolution condemning the bail granted by a Pakistan court to 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

Written by Liz Mathew |
December 20, 2014 4:02:09 am

FROM THE CHAIR

I am not supporting. I am sorry. You cannot cast any aspersion on the Chair. The honourable minister has sought leave to introduce the bill. You have made your comments on that. Let him answer. Then you decide about that. Why are you telling that I am supporting him? I am not supporting him. I am sorry for that.

M Thambidurai, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha. In response to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s charge that he (Thambidurai) was supporting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the introduction of the GST bill

SPEAKER OF THE DAY

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Ghulam Nabi Azad (Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha)

It is not derogatory to ask for votes for oneself. All I am saying is it is pain he has inflicted, he will have to cure it. He had told the people of India that I am answerable, give me power. Today when it is the time to answer, somebody else cannot answer on his behalf… there is no shame in heeding to the request of an elected legislature. This is the PM’s home.

on why the PM should make a statement on the conversions debate

INTERJECTION

I served the Congress to the best of my ability for 40 years together and they did not give me… and this party made me Cabinet Minister in 40 days. What do you want more from me? There are certain Congress friends of mine, and they have said you had the guts to take a decision and we did not have the guts to take a decision.

Chaudhary Birender Singh, Rural Development Minister. During a discussion on the alleged dilution of the MNREGA scheme.

WATCHiNG

PRIME MINISTER

Present: Entered Lok Sabha at 1:05 pm. As members raised the issue of bail granted to 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, he said the development had come as a “shock” to all.

RAHUL GANDHI

Not Present

SONIA GANDHI

Not Present

MANMOHAN SINGH

Present: Attended through the morning

DEBATE

Lok Sabha passed a resolution condemning the bail granted by a Pakistan court to 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it as a “shock to all those who believe in humanity, the world over…” Later, the GST bill and the Electricity Act amendment bill were introduced. Rajya Sabha remained disrupted for a fifth day as Opposition demanded a reply from the PM on forcible conversions. It led to two adjournments before lunch.

 5 Question | N K Premachandran, Revolutionary Socialist Party

On the Opposition’s contention that the BJP-led government brings the bills without listing or discussing it before the Business Advisory Committee (BAC).

Why were you opposing the introduction of GST bill in Lok Sabha?

We were opposing it on the ground that, during this session, every day the government is circulating a Supplementary List of Business and introducing bills in the House within moments. It’s a violation of the rule and is against procedures of this House. The right of a member to question the constitutional propriety and the legislative competence of a bill is being curtailed. As per sub rule 1 of Rule 72, at the time of introduction of a bill, a member can raise objections regarding these aspects. Since it is not listed, the member does not get an opportunity to examine these aspects.

But the GST bill was drafted after long discussions and consultation with states. The empowered committee has discussed it.

We do appreciate that a long democratic process took place in arriving at a consensus. But whether the demands of various states have been complied with is a matter to be looked into. The bill was circulated only at 9.30 am Friday. We did not get an opportunity to go through the contents.

Did opposition leaders meet the Speaker to complain against the government’s move?

Absolutely. The government is trying to bulldoze its way. The bills are significant. For example, this (GST) is a constitutional bill, which has implications on Centre-state relations and the federal democracy.

What was the Speaker’s response?

We have raised this matter several times and even appealed to the Speaker on several occasions. But it’s quite unfortunate that the government is not conceding democratic demands as per the rules and procedures. Most bills are not even referred to standing committees. The Speaker said she will take care of the Opposition’s demands.

Do you think this approach of the government will aff-ect the Opposition’s role?

As far as the legislative business is concerned, size of the Opposition does not matter. The rights and privileges of the Opposition have to be protected for check and balances in a democracy.

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