Rajya Sabha ruckus: CPI(M) MP Ragesh to knock at President's door

A. M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on September 20, 2020

KK Ragesh, CPI(M) MP

The main mover of the three motions in Rajya Sabha -- two statutory motions against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance and another motion demanding that the Bills based on the Ordinances must be sent to a select committee of Parliament-- KK Ragesh has decided to complain to President Ramnath Kovind against Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh. Ragesh, MP belonging to the CPI(M) and Kerala state president of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) told BusinessLine in an interview that he was denied the right of a member to vote against the two Bills and the right of the mover to seek division on the motions he moved.

He said despite inviting the attention of the Deputy Chairman at the best of his voice from the Rajya Sabha gallery, where his seat is arranged now due to the Covid-19 protocol, he was denied a chance. "The marshalls manhandled me when I tried to pass in a note to the Deputy Chairman that I want a division. Eight guards circled me and pushed me," he said. Excerpts:

What happened inside the House after the debate on the two Farm Bills?

Statutory motion is a constitutional remedy available with the Opposition against an Ordinance. It has extreme significance. I was in the gallery. I sought division, and he did not give any attention. If a member asks for division, it is the responsibility of the Chair to protect the right of the member. Without doing that, the Deputy Chairman directly went for a voice vote. He took my right for granted. He unilaterally declared that the statutory motions are negative. The same happened on the motion moved by myself and other colleagues to send the Bills to a select committee. He didn't go for voting in the three resolutions. Also, I had moved four amendments against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and two against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill. They were also not considered.

What is the remedy now?

As per the Constitution, the President has to see that all the procedures are followed properly while enacting a Bill in Parliament. President is the custodian of the Constitution. It is his duty. What happened is a blatant violation of Constitutional norms and the values enshrined in the rules and procedures. The watch and ward did not even allow me to give a note to the Deputy Chairman. I was manhandled by eight guards. As the first mover, I will write to the President asking for his intervention. Also, Opposition parties will decide together the next step in this issue as such a move is unprecedented in the history of Indian Parliament.

What were the major points in your amendments?

A: My amendments were basically on MSP. I wanted the Centre to specifically mention in the Bill that MSP will be announced for every agriculture products. I also wanted to make MSP mandatory even in the case of private procurement. One of the amendments was on the provision to ensure MSP in the contract farming. All the amendments were against the Centre's tall claims about the Bills. That is the reason why they were not taken up during the voting.

Published on September 20, 2020

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