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Privilege notice against Jaitley, Pradhan

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 02, 2015

Felicitations Finance Minister Arun Jaitley being felicitated by BJP leaders in New Delhi on Friday, over the Centre’s decision to regularise unauthorised colonies in the national capital S SUBRAMANIUM

CPI(M) questions Centre’s decision to hike excise duty on petrol and diesel

Questioning the Centre’s decision to increase the excise duty on petrol and diesel when a statutory motion against the hike is pending with the Upper House, the CPI(M) has moved a privilege notice against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

The notice has been moved in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in a minority.

It is the prerogative of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to assess the admissibility of a privilege notice.

If admitted, the notice will go to the Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha, headed by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. The ruling NDA has just two members in the 10-member Privileges Committee, which will take a decision on the notice and report its decision to the Upper House.

The CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress had moved a statutory motion against the excise duty hike in the Rajya Sabha.

CPI(M) MP KN Balagopal, who has moved the privilege notice, told BusinessLine that both Jaitley and Pradhan had assured the House that a detailed discussion on petroleum prices will be possible if the statutory motion is taken up for discussion.

He said the motion was accepted by the Chairman and the business advisory committee had even allotted time for discussions.

The statutory motion was not discussed in the last session due to the “negative attitude” of the Centre, Balagopal added.

“Such an important motion is now pending before the House. It should be discussed and finalised. It is the responsibility of the government to respect parliamentary practices and procedures. Instead of fulfilling parliamentary responsibilities, the government is trying to bypass the authority of Parliament by arbitrarily increasing the excise duty again,” he said.

Opposition parties have been arguing that since the international price of crude has fallen to $55 a barrel, the Centre should not have put further burden on consumers.

The price of petrol ought to be brought down to ₹40 a litre, they said. “This is a clear breach of parliamentary privileges. The government has challenged the authority of Parliament and a decision of the Chairman,” Balagopal added.

Trinamool move

The Trinamool is also considering parliamentary remedies against the frequent increases in excise duty on petrol and diesel. The party’s leadership meeting, scheduled on Saturday in Kolkata, will discuss the issue.

“This shows the respect the Narendra Modi government has towards Parliament. This is negation of the parliamentary system. Our leadership will discuss about the next course of action,” said Trinamool Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.

Published on January 02, 2015

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