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House remains paralysed for 9th day, LS passes 2 bills

March 15, 2018 16:47 IST

IMAGE: DMK leader Kanimozhi, with members of DMK and AIADMK, stages a protest over the formation of Cauvery Management Board during the budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday. All Photographs: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo

Lok Sabha

Opposition members tore papers and threw them around as relentless protests by them and other parties disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha for the ninth day on Thursday, but the government managed to get two bills passed without debate amid the din.

The proceedings of House were paralysed as opposition parties, along with ruling National Democratic Alliance partner Telugu Desam Party the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, stormed the Well as soon as it met and continued with their noisy protests over a number of issues, including the Punjab National Bank scam, special status for Andhra and increase of quota.


Speaker Sumitra Mahajan first adjourned the House till noon and then for the day.

However, the government pushed two bills -- The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, for passage amid this din and the House passed them with a voice vote without debate.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose party members were also in the Well, sought a discussion on the bills.

With continuous protests by different parties making the prospect of any discussion improbable, the Speaker went ahead with the proceedings for the passage of bills.

Opposition members were seen tearing papers and throwing them around in protest as the second bill was passed beforethe Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

IMAGE: BJP president and Rajay Sabha MP Amit Shah with Bhupender Yadav.

Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill was an important piece of legislation as he sought the opposition's cooperation.

The Bill notifies the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the central government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law.

Moving the bill for passage, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said it is a very important legislation for employees, especially women.

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract and to reduce discretion of courts in such matters.

Protests began in the House as soon as the Speaker took up the Question Hour in the morning, with members from various parties trooping into the Well holding placards.

When union minister Ram Kripal Yadav was responding to the first question on rural housing, the protesting members raised their pitch, drowning his voice.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar urged the protesting members, including the Congress, to return to their seats and allow the House to function.

IMAGE: TDP MP Naramalli Sivaprasad, dressed as a Muslim, protests demanding special status for the state of Andhra Pradesh.

He said Parliament is the 'maha panchayat' of the country where issues are discussed but disruptions were not allowing important issues to be raised.

He also thanked the Speaker for trying to ensure smooth functioning and said the government was open to discuss issues including bank scam, Cauvery water management board and special status for Andhra Pradesh, but the House has to function first and members have to vacate the Well.

As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 12 noon minutes before it was adjourned till Friday.

While members from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, TDP, Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samiti were in the Well raising slogans and holding placards, MPs from the Left were standing at their seats and shouting slogans.

Since March 5, when Parliament had met after a recess, the Lok Sabha has seen disruptions on a daily basis. Amid the din, the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills were passed on Wednesday by the House without discussion.

Rajya Sabha

Uproarious scenes by the Opposition and the TDP seeking a probe into India's largest Rs 12,700 crore banking scam and special status to Andhra Pradesh disrupted Rajya Sabha proceedings for the ninth consecutive day on Thursday.

The House was adjourned for the day in the afternoon after witnessing two adjournments earlier in the day.

Minutes after the Upper House reassembled at 3 pm, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien who was in the Chair rose to his feet and urged the opposition to take up the Finance Bill and Appropriation Bills as members from TDP, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Congress trooped into the Well raising slogans and carrying placards.

"Please listen to my request...There is Finance Bill... Appropriation Bills...If you don't consider (them), Rajya Sabha will beocme irrelevant. I will dispose (these) in five minutes," Kurien urged the members.

To this, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said "No Bill can just be finished in five minutes."

However, as the slogan-shouting continued, Kurien adjourned the House for the day, saying "I will have to adjourn the House and the responsibility of not discussing or taking up Finance Bill is on the shouting members."

Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved a statutory resolution to approve a notification of March 1 which seeks to increase the basic custom duty on chickpeas, falling under a
tariff item of the Customs Tariff Act from 40 to 60 per cent.

IMAGE: BJP MP Hema Malini.

When the House had met at 3 PM, former minister TDP MP YS Chowdhary, who was earlier allowed by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to make a statement under Rule 241 on the reasons for quitting the Union cabinet, said he wanted to complete his statement.

However, Kurien did not permit him, saying "I am not denying your right...The point is, the statement was allowed in the morning and it could not be completed...on what ground (that) I am not aware...You can request the honourable Chairman tomorrow (on Friday)."

Soon after it met for the day, the Upper House was adjourned till 2 pm amidst protests by Congress members over Chowdary's remarks against the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance regime over the division of Andhra Pradesh.

When it reassembled at 2 pm, Deputy Chairman Kurien adjourned the House within five minutes after the opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans.

Kurien tried to pacify the agitating members saying the government was ready for discussion on the issues they were raising and they should return to their seats.

He tried to take up a short duration discussion on the scams in public sector banks, saying the notice for the short duration discussion 'has been admitted and the government is ready for discussions on it'.

However, as the members continued their protests, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the house till 3 pm.

Earlier, the Congress members had trooped into the Well raising slogans after Chowdhary said the division of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 was carried out in a 'hasty, unjust and unscientific' manner.

Chairman Naidu said the former minister had been allowed permission under Rule 241 to make a statement on the reasons for quitting the Union cabinet.

Two ministers of the TDP -- Chowdary and Ashok Gajapathi Raju -- had quit their posts after the party pulled out of the government over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Chowdary began by thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party leader N Chandrababu Naidu for giving him an opportunity to be part of the Cabinet and then went on to say that he was making the statement to set the perspective right and 'separate truth from propaganda'.

He said the division of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 was done in a 'hasty, unjust and unscientific manner' by the government of the time.

The comment drew a sharp reaction from the Congress MPs who shouted in protest and started moving into the Well.

Naidu asked Chowdary not to deviate from the approved text of the statement and anything he said beyond it would not go on record.

But this did not satisfy the Congress members who moved into the Well with some holding placard supporting a special package for Andhra Pradesh. Naidu said the House was not a place to play politics and adjourned it till 2 pm.

Earlier the House mourned the death of its former member Hamida Habibullah. A qualified nurse who served in the military hospital in Lucknow till World War-II and had started the famed NGO SEWA, Habibullah died on March 13 at the age of 101 years.

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