Committee formed to revise ‘inadequate’ Rajya Sabha rules

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New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) A two-member committee to revise the rules and procedure of conduct of business in the upper House of Parliament has been formed by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma said on Monday.

The two-member committee would be headed by former Rajya Sabha Secretary General V.K. Agnihotri, while S.R. Dhaleta, a former Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, would serve as a member.

Although the committee would have a holistic relook at the rules, the provisions dealing with the disruptions in the House and the provisions, which seem “inadequate” as compared to the rules in Lok Sabha, would get special attention.

The Secretary General pointed out that during the recently concluded 245th Session of Rajya Sabha, out of a total of 165 available working hours, more than 120 hours were lost to disruptions in the House.

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He said that of late, a need was being felt for further amendments in the rules of procedure in Rajya Sabha to “enlarge the scope of some rules and make them more effective and robust in certain aspects for the smooth conduct of proceedings of the House”.

“For example, there is no specific provision in the Rajya Sabha rules for automatic suspension of the members who persistently and wilfully obstruct the proceedings of the House by shouting slogans or otherwise by coming into the well. But Rule 374(A) of the Lok Sabha proceedings provides for automatic suspension of such members,” Verma said.

“As a result, many a time the Chair is left with no other option but to adjourn the House in the eventuality of grave disorder. Moreover, when there is disruption in the House, passage of a bill becomes difficult. The current rules of procedure relating to voting procedure on a bill become inadequate in such a situation. Therefore, there is a need to amend such rules to make them effective and robust in future,” he added.

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Besides, he said, some of the upper House rules related to point of order, suspension of listed business, discussion on matters of public interest, notice of privilege, etc., were not “very specific”.

He said the committee’s recommendations would be placed before the Rules Committee of the Rajya Sabha which would examine them by taking views of members of the committee, Members of Parliament and leaders of political parties.

“Thereafter, the report of the Rules Committee will be presented to the House and consensus would be evolved to amend the rules, so that the issues of disruptions and frequent adjournments could be addressed effectively,” he said.

The committee has been mandated to submit its report in three months, and the panel may give some of the recommendations before the monsoon session of Parliament.

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–IANS

mak/nir/vm

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