The Rajya Sabha was adjourned today till 2 PM as opposition MPs tried to raise issues including the Rs 12,700-crore fraud in Punjab National Bank, with the TMC and other parties insisting that a discussion on bank scams be held under a rule that entails voting.
As the House met, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu appealed to members to allow the House to function but adjourned the proceedings the moment members from Tamil Nadu parties, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and from Congress to Andhra parties were on their feet. The government, he said, has agreed for discussions on issues being pressed by the opposition but the TMC and other parties wanted the debate under a rule that requires voting.
Naidu said discussions on India’s biggest bank fraud and other issues have been permitted under rule 176 that provides for a member to give notice of a Short Duration Discussion for raising a matter of urgent public importance. However, opposition parties wanted a discussion on the bank fraud issue under rule 168/169 that requires voting on a resolution.
After congratulating Indian medal winners at Archery World Cup and ISSF World Shooting Championships, Naidu said it is against the rules to speak without permission of the Chair as well as making comments while being seated.
Almost seven days have been lost in opposition protests, he said, “I make an earnest appeal to leaders of parties and members that House be allowed to function because people are being impatient and (adjournments and protests) show Parliament in poor light.”
He said opposition parties are demanding discussion on Cauvery Water Management Board, special package for Andhra Pradesh and fraud at PNB. “The government is agreeable to that and the Chair also also permitted,” he said, adding “I don’t find any reason for agitation.” He also appealed to members not to bring banners and placards into the well. “Please desist from displaying banners and placards in the House,” he said.
The Chair, he said, is willing to allow discussion and made an appeal to allow the House to function. “Let us put an end to this... it is my earnest appeal.... Let the House function effectively. Let us raise the level of debate,” he said.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said his party has given a notice for discussion on the PNB fraud issue under rule 168. He said rule 169 of Rules of Procedures of Conduct of Rajya Sabha requires 15 conditions to be met for raising such a discussion and his notice meets all of them. “If my motion is not accepted, principle of natural justice will be denied,” he said. But Naidu said a discussion can be allowed under rule 176, which was not acceptable to the opposition members.
They soon started to rise from their places to protest while some MPs from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh began moving towards the Well, prompting Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 2 PM.
Earlier, Naidu also asked members not to make comments while being seated. His remark was in reference to catcalls being made from treasury benches when he called P Chidambaram to lay on the table a Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Home Affairs.
As Chidambaram was absent, someone from the treasury benches remarked that he must be in Tihar jail. This led to protests and comments from opposition Congress side. Naidu ruled that no comment made by either side would go on record. Chidambaram’s son Karti is in judicial custody in an alleged bribery case.
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