The Budget Session of Parliament came to a sudden end on Wednesday,two days ahead of the schedule. The government opted for a sine die adjournment in view of the deadlock in both Houses due to the BJP stance that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal resign to facilitate smooth proceedings.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar did not deliver the customary valedictory address. However,she told the media later that the House was not running. The disturbances created by members,she felt,amounted to a betrayal of the people who had elected them. As a fall-out of the tension between the government and the Opposition,the BJP did not join the traditional tea with the Speaker in her chamber immediately after the sine die.
The Speaker ticked off BSP member Shafiqur Rahman,who was seen walking out while the national song was being played to mark the end of the session. She said,One honourable member walked out when Vande Mataram was being played… I take very serious view of this. I would want to know why this was done. This should never be done again.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari was more explicit while commenting on the House paralysis. He said in his end-of-session remarks: The record of the work done,and not done,is in the public domain and in no need of commentary. The experience of this session,and particularly of second half,should induce cogitation on a number of matters arising out of situations in which the House finds itself in its daily functioning.
Having said this,Ansari posed three questions to members: One,Has the balance between deliberations,legislations and accountability been lost due to regular disruption of proceedings? Two,Has the time not come to bridge the growing gap between the Rules of Procedures and the need felt by different sections of the House to voice opinion on matters of concern? Three,Has the membership of this august body assessed the impact of disruptive behaviour on public opinion?
The immediate fall-out of the end of the session is that the government may have to go in for the ordinance-route if expediency demands that it bring the National Food Security Bill as well as the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill into effect fast. The government had to abandon its attempt to pass the National Food Security Bill in the Lok Sabha amidst din after the opposition vowed to block it. In any case,there was no way a Bill could be passed when members insisted upon a division in a disorderly House.
The second half of the Budget Session,which got underway from April 22,saw the transaction of only urgent financial business,including the passage of the Finance Bill and the Railway Budget,after an understanding with the opposition.
During this part of the session,the Lok Sabha lost 92 hours and 40 minutes. The Rajya Sabha lost over 82 hours. The disruptions were triggered by issues like vetting of CBI report on coal-block allocations,leakage of the JPC report,plight of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka and demands for the resignation of Ashwani Kumar and Bansal.