The Lok Sabha passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018 by a voice vote amid din, while the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2pm due to Congress protests over TDP MP YS Chowdhary’s remarks on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The Lok Sabha too was adjourned for an hour till noon over protests by Opposition parties over the Punjab National Bank scam and special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Chowdhary, one of the two ministers who quit the Modi cabinet over the issue of special category status to Andhra Pradesh, said the division of the state in 2014 was carried out in a “hasty, unjust and unscientific” manner. The remarks got the Congress agitated and their MPs rushed to the well of the House shouting slogans. Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked Chowdary not to deviate from the approved text of the statement and said anything beyond it would not go on record. But, Naidu’s intervention did little to soothe tempers and the Congress MPs continued protesting, forcing an adjournment.
In the past nine days in the Lok Sabha, Opposition parties have been protesting over the Punjab National Bank fraud and special status to Andhra Pradesh among other issues. As soon as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the Question Hour, members from various parties trooped into the well holding placards. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar tried to reason with the opposition parties, including the Congress, saying that the House was the ‘maha panchayat’ of the country, where issues are discussed but the disruptions were not allowing important issues to be raised.
He said the government was ready to discuss issues, including the PNB scam, Cauvery water management board and special status for Andhra Pradesh. The Congress and TMC have demanded a debate on the Rs 12,000 crore PNB scam in a provision that entails voting but the government has rejected it. As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 12 noon. After it resumed, the House passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill that proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract and to reduce the discretion of courts in such matters.