Parliament adjourned sine die after month of disruptions, adjournments

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New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Both houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on Friday, bringing to an end the month-long winter session marked by repeated disruptions and adjournments.

The winter session — which started on November 16 — saw repeated adjournments amid ruckus and chaos by opposition members protesting over demonetisation and other issues.

Altogether, the Lok Sabha lost almost 92 hours to disruptions while the Rajya Sabha lost more than 86 hours, according to information given by secretariats of both the houses.

The Lok Sabha worked for merely 19 hours in its 21 sittings, while the Rajya Sabha worked for 22 hours.

As a result of repeated disruptions, only two of the 330 listed questions in the Rajya Sabha could be answered orally. In the Lok Sabha, 50 of the 440 starred questions were answered orally.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition wanted a debate on demonetisation under a rule entailing voting in the end. Opposition leaders later said they were ready for the debate without rule or vote.

However, the last couple of days witnessed angry exchanges between opposition and treasury benches as the ruling bloc, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, sought a debate on AgustaWestland issue. The government benches also slammed opposition parties for allegedly running money laundering racket by changing demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The lower house, however, did take up a discussion on demonetisation under Rule 193. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) member A.P. Jithender Reddy also started the debate, but it could not be taken up as other opposition parties created a ruckus.

Till the last day, opposition members kept submitting notices for adjourning the plower house proceedings to take up the debate but all notices were disallowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

In the Rajya Sabha, the demonetisation debate started on the session’s very first day. However, the opposition later sought the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout the debate, and disrupted the house repeatedly as Modi kept away.

On Friday, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die shortly after the house met at 11 a.m., but not before Chairman M. Hamid Ansari, in an emotional speech, voiced anguish over disruptions in the house during the entire winter session.

“I had fervently hoped that I would not have to repeat what I said at the conclusion of the 221st session in December 2013,” Ansari said.

“My hope stands belied. Regular and continuous disruptions characterised the session. The symbolism of dignified protest, so essential for orderly conduct of parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned,” he said.

Ansari held both the treasury and opposition benches responsible for the bedlam.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was also unhappy over the repeated adjournments.

Mahajan informed the house that it functioned for only 19 hours in 21 sittings. “It is not even 21 hours.”

She said 91 hours and 59 minutes were wasted due to disruptions.

“This is not good for us. It maligns our image in the public,” Mahajan said.

“I hope there will be no disruptions in the coming sessions and we will function in a better way,” she added.

The Lok Sabha, in the entire session, passed four bills, of which two were finance bills related to Supplementary Demand for Grants, and other two were Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, — which was also passed by the Rajya Sabha — and the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2014.

–IANS

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