Washed Out Winter Session Of Parliament Ends

New Delhi
Washed Out Winter Session Of Parliament Ends
Photo by Jitender Gupta/Outlook
Washed Out Winter Session Of Parliament Ends

The storm over demonetisation issue virtually demolished the month-long Winter Session of Parliament which concluded today as a washout with negligible business being transacted.

The Lok Sabha lost 92 hours due to the disruptions caused ever since the session began on November 16. The Rajya Sabha had a similar fate even though the excact loss of time was not immediately known.

The session hardly saw any legislative action except for the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill by both the Houses. Significantly, this legislation was cleared today after a brief debate with a rare bonhomie, similar to the one witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on it two days back.

During the session, the Lok Sabha also passed the Income Tax Amendment Bill without any debate amid din but it could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

The only other legislative action was the approval of the Supplementary Demands for Grants.

While adjourning the two Houses sine die, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari expressed pain and anguish over the repeated disruptions.

Ansari said "all sections" of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation.

"Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this Session. The symbolism of dignified protests, so essential for orderly conduct of Parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned," he lamented.

"The prohibition in the Rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned places was consistently ignored by all sections of the House," he said, adding that "peace prevailed only when obituaries were read".

In the Rajya Sabha, the debate on demonetisation took place on the first day of the session but subsequently the opposition continuously created uproar demanding presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the entire discussion.

The debate was again taken up once for an hour when Modi was present but it could not be carried forward.

In the Lok Sabha, the debate could not be taken up even though both the government and opposition repeatedly said they were ready for a discussion on demonetisation announced on November 8.

The deadlock occurred as the opposition insisted on debate under a rule that entails voting, which was not acceptable to the ruling side.

"This is not a good thing for all of us and this maligns our image in the eyes of people," said the Speaker, expressing hope that future sessions would be more fruitful and productive and witness constructive debates and discussions.

"I am hopeful of getting support of all political parties and members," she said.  The Speaker regretted that 21 sittings of the House lasted only 19 hours which saw 50 of the total 440 starred being answered on the floor and members raising 124 issues of urgent public importance.

She said though a discussion on demonetisation of currency notes was on the agenda under 193 that does not entail voting, but only partial debate could take place.

As deadlock between government and opposition persisted, an attempt was made to initiate the debate under Rule 193 which does not entail voting.

TRS leader A P Jeethender Reddy tried to speak twice but members of some opposition parties, particularly Trinamool Congress, scuttled the bid by creating pandemonium.

Veteran Parliamentarian and BJP stalwart L K Advani expressed deep anguish over the way Parliament was being run and yesterday even remarked that he felt like resigning.

Next Story : 'No Official Estimation Of Black Money Either Before Or After November 8' : Arun Jaitley
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