Opposition uproar disrupts proceedings in Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh conducts the proceedings during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, July 22, 2019. (RSTV Grab/PTI)

Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated disruptions on Monday as the opposition Congress, TMC and SP members created an uproar over various issues, including the crisis in Karnataka, Sonbhadra killings and mob lynching. They were joined by the members of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the DMK, the CPI and the CPI-M, besides the RJD and the AAP.

The proceedings were washed out in the pre-launch period after the tumult. The House was adjourned 10 minutes after it met at 12 for Question Hour.

Soon after Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh called for the Question Hour, members continued to create an uproar. They soon stormed into the well and started raising slogans.

Harivansh said the Question hour was important as a lot of effort and resources had gone into it.

While Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo continued to answer supplementaries pertaining to a question on the rehabilitation of villages, the commotion continued.

"The members who are standing in the well are requested to go back to their seats and allow the Question Hour to continue," the deputy chairman urged members.

As the pleas of the deputy chairman went unheeded, he adjourned the House till 2 PM.

As soon as the House resumed at 2 pm, the Deputy Chairman asked the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, to move the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for passage in the House. Opposition members soon trooped into the well and started raising slogans highlighting various issues like the political crisis in Karnataka, killings in Sonbhadra district of UP and mob lynching in Bihar.

Singh told members that the Chairman has already given a ruling on the political crisis in Karnataka and that the issue cannot be discussed in the House as the matter is sub-judice. 

Raising a point of order under Rule 95, TMC leader Derek O'Brien said members did not get sufficient time to submit amendments to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as the draft law was passed by the Lok Sabha last week and sent to the House on Friday evening.

He pointed out that the Bill was listed for discussion on Monday without giving sufficient notice to members to file their amendments to the draft law.

The Deputy Chairman said members had time till noon to file their amendments to the Bill.

Bhupender Yadav (BJP) said the Chairman has the power to allow amendments of the members.

Raising a point of order, Congress leader Anand Sharma said members should get at least a two days' notice to file their amendments to the Bill.

He said when bills are not being referred to standing committees for scrutiny, members should be given time to submit their amendments on the Bill.

He said the government is in a tearing hurry to pass the Bill and members' right to move amendments is being violated.

The Deputy Chairman called out the names of two members to move their amendments. But when they did not do so, he considered the amendments are not moved.

Raising the point of order, DMK member Tiruchi Siva said members, who wanted to move amendments, asked the Chair to bring the House in order, "but you presumed that they did not move amendments".

He requested the Chair to allow them to move amendments after bringing the house in order.

The Deputy Chairman expressed dismay over members throwing pieces of papers on him and other officials sitting below him and asked if this was the way the Chair should be treated.

Derek O'Brien, in the meantime, blamed the Chair for not conducting the business in a congenial environment.

Protesting members were raising slogans like "Dictatorship will not be allowed", "Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar, nahin chalegi", "Goondagardi nahin chalegi".

Congress members had given an adjournment notice under Rule 267 seeking setting aside of the business of the day to take up the issue of Constitutional crisis in Karnataka. TMC members sent a similar notice over killings in Sonbhadra district of UP and a similar notice on mob lynching in Bihar by other opposition parties.

Earlier, the House mourned the death of Dikshit, who died on July 20 at the age of 81 years. 

Reading out an obituary reference, Naidu said she was the longest-serving chief minister of Delhi and did pioneering development work during her 15-year tenure.

"In passing away of Sheila Dikshit, the country has lost a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator," he said.

Members stood in silence in their places as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed soul. As soon as that was done and the listed official papers were laid on the table of the House, Opposition members were up on their feet raising their issues.

Amid the din, Deputy Charmian adjourned the House till 3 PM.

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