Responding to The Indian Express report that two Opposition MPs were in their seats when they asked for division on the farm Bills, Deputy Chairman Harivansh, in a statement Sunday, said it was “true” that DMK MP Tiruchi Siva had demanded a division from his seat but he pointed out that “order in the House” is “equally important” to have a division.
The Indian Express, after reviewing the official footage of Rajya Sabha TV between 1 pm — when the Deputy Chairman extended the sitting — to 1.26 pm when the House was adjourned for 15 minutes, reported that Siva had demanded a division from his seat at 1.10 pm. And that CPM’s K K Ragesh, too, was in his seat at 1:11 pm when he demanded a division on an amendment moved by him to the bill.
This contradicted the Deputy Chairman’s contention that members needed to be in their seat to ask for a division.
In his statement today, the Deputy Chairman said: “The statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance and the amendment for the reference of the bill to select committee moved by Sri K K Ragesh were negatived by voice vote by the house at 1.07 p.m as Sri Ragesh was in the Well of the house and not on his seat in the gallery at that point of time.”
“This can be seen from the video as after calling him to move his resolution and amendment, I looked at the gallery, but he was not there,” he said.
The visuals show Ragesh on his seat at 1:11 pm when his amendment to the bill was taken up during clause by clause consideration of the bill. The clause by clause consideration of the Bill began after disposing of the statutory resolutions and motions moved by members, including Ragesh, to refer the bills to a select committee.
“It is true that Sri Tiruchi Shiva demanded a division on his amendment for reference of his bill to select committee from his seat at 1.10 p.m. You will see from the same video that around 1.09 p.m, one member was tearing the rule book and throwing on me. Besides I was surrounded by some hostile members, who were trying to snatch papers from me,” the Deputy Chairman said.
The Deputy Chairman said “as per rules and practice, in order to have a division, two things are essential. Firstly there should be a demand for division and equally important that there should be order in the house.” The Deputy Chairman’s office also put out an “incident report” on the minute-by-minute proceedings of the House from 12:56 pm to 1.57 pm.
According to it, when Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was replying to the bills “some members disregarded the authority of the Chair, abused the rules of the Council (Rajya Sabha) by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.”
Meanwhile, Ragesh wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind saying his right as a Rajya Sabha MP was denied during the proceedings in the most “undemocratic manner.”
He said the decision to suspend eight members accusing them of “unruly behaviour,” in the House, had “stemmed out from extreme bias of the Deputy Chairman” and argued that the video footage of Rajya Sabha TV of September 20, 2020 proves that “none of the reasons cited by the Chairman while suspending the members were matching the real facts.”
Urging the President not to give his assent to the Bills, Ragesh said: “I repeatedly raised the demand for a vote on the Statutory Resolution moved by me on the Bills, from my seat number 92, in Rajya Sabha gallery at about 1.05 pm. I could find the mics of the members to be muted and I had to shout from the seat for division as my request to unmute the mics were also ignored, as if as part of a well-scripted move! But strangely, by ignoring my appeal the Deputy Chairman asked for a voice vote. He went on to declare that the statutory resolution was negated by the voice vote, irrespective of my repeated demand for a division…Later…the motion moved by me asking to refer the Bill to the Select Committee was also rejected…the motions moved by members Tiruchi Siva and Derek O’Brien also had to face similar utter disregard from the Deputy Chairman. I could clearly see that Shri Siva, then, was seen shouting from his seat for division of vote. He also claimed that his mic was found to be muted! As in the case of my experience, Chair did not look towards him at all,” he added.
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