Panel for suspension of errant MPs without House vote

Panel for suspension of errant MPs without House vote

A two-member committee set up by Naidu to review Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in May after a highly disruptive Budget session, has submitted its report. 

The report of the committee comprising V K Agnihotri, former Secretary General of Rajya Sabha, and S R Dhaleta, retired Joint Secretary and Legislative Counsel, Ministry of Law and Justice, will be studied by the Rules Committee of Rajya Sabha chaired by Naidu.

“The Rajya Sabha Chairman has received the report and is going through it. He will be meeting leaders of all parties, including those in Opposition one by one,” said a source in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

While setting up the committee, Naidu had voiced serious concern over repeated disruptions affecting the functioning of the House. In the Budget session, more than 120 working hours out of 165 were lost. According to a report of PRS Legislative Research, the productivity of Rajya Sabha was 66% in Monsoon session. In comparison, Lok Sabha recorded 110% productivity. Monsoon session was, however, much better than Budget session in terms of productivity and carriage of government business.

The Winter session starts December 11 when counting of votes cast in assembly elections in five states will be taken up. Opposition and Government locking horns on issues like Rafale aircraft deal and the bickering within the CBI are also potent material for discussion.

With the session expected to have a stormy start, unlike Lok Sabha, there is no specific provision for automatic suspension of members who regularly and wilfully obstruct House proceedings. This leaves the Chair the only option of adjourning the House, even if briefly, to restore order.

Rules for suspension

The committee is learnt to have recommended uniformity with regard to the rules for suspension so that the Chairman does not require a vote of the House to suspend an erring member.

Another recommendation is to restore the question hour to 11 am from noon. The change was effected under the previous  Chairman, Hamid Ansari.

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