Rajya Sabha witnesses adjournments; fails to pass anti-graft bill

Rajya Sabha witnesses adjournments; fails to pass anti-graft bill

Opposition parties held on to their nerves to thwart the government's effort to pass an anti-graft legislation without any debate as the Rajya Sabha witnessed an unprecedented 10 adjournments in the post-lunch session on Wednesday.

In the Upper House, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said Opposition parties were not against the legislation, but since they represented people, they required to highlight issues like according special status to Andhra Pradesh and the Supreme Court ruling on the SC/ST Act.

As the NDA government pushed for passage of the Prevention of Corruption (amendment) bill, 2013, a battle of nerves began between the treasury and Opposition benches, with the members blocking every attempt to get the bill to sail through.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed as many as 10 adjournments, most of them 10-15 minutes long, as every effort to break the Opposition camp failed.

Inter-party consultations continued behind the closed door, but every time the Upper House assembled following a brief adjournment, Opposition members from the Congress, AIADMK, DMK, TDP, YSR Congress and the TMC trooped to the Well of the House with placards and raised slogans, while the Left, SP and the BSP stood up and shouted from their seats.

Amid the din, Jitendra Singh, a minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office sought the chair's permission to pass the legislation through a voice vote.

He was immediately countered by  TMC's Sukhendu Sekhar Roy who sought voting on the amendments that he moved on the bill.

But the voting exercise couldn't be carried out as the House was not in the order.

After the 10th adjournment at 5.10 pm, deputy  chairman P J Kurien said it was most unfortunate that the House couldn't transact any business; but he had little other option than to adjourn the House for the day.

The bill seeks to make giving a bribe a specific offence like taking a bribe and modify the definitions and penalties for such offences, among other things.

 

 

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