'Give more powers to RS Chair to deal with unruly MPs'

With disruptions leading to Bills getting stuck, a proposal has been mooted to give more powers to Rajya Sabha Chairperson to suspend unruly members by amending the existing rules.


Sources said a senior Rajya Sabha functionary has supported the proposal of amending the Rule 256 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha to take action against disrupters to prevent a repeat of the washout witnessed during the Budget Session.


Top Rajya Sabha leaders who met Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu soon after the Upper House was adjourned sine die suggested that he should convene a meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the House to deliberate on the action to be taken against such MPs who persistently indulge in sloganeering and disruption.


One of the proposals under initial stage of consideration is amending the Rule 256, which deals with suspension of unruly MPs. At present, after the Chair names the MP or group of MPs, the government has to bring a motion to suspend them. However, sources said, it is a time-taking process and the need of the hour is to empower the Chair to take on the spot decisions.


That is the reason why the Rajya Sabha leadership is looking at best practices across the world. "We are not rushing into it. We need to build a consensus. We will have to study the practices in other Parliaments," a senior functionary said.


The discussion on the need to amend the rules gathered some attention, as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien could not go ahead with voting on the consideration of Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill following disruption. After two Trinamool Congress MPs demanded a 'division' following a voice vote, Kurien had called for voting.


"I regret that the Bill could not be passed. But I have no option than to go ahead with division. As per rule even if one MP asks for division, that has to be done. If the Chair does not do it, it will be subverting the rules," Kurien said.


The government side wanted the Bill to be passed in the pandemonium and cited the passage of the bill amid din to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. However, Kurien, who was in the Chair then too, pointed out that none sought a division in that case and he could go ahead with passing.


"One has to see whether there is a broad consensus on the bill. If it is there, then even in din, sometimes you can pass the bill. In the latest case, there was no consensus," he added.

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