Shiv Sena on Wednesday stalled the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha briefly to demand an immediate discussion on the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute, leading to adjournment of the House for 15 minutes.
As soon as the House met for the day, Manohar Joshi of Shiv Sena was on his feet saying he has given a notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue as well as the alleged atrocities on Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum district of Karnataka.
Chairman Hamid Ansari, however, disallowed the notice but unrelenting Shiv Sena members trooped into the well to the issue more forcefully. After repeatedly requesting the members to take their seats, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
Joshi, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, insisted that a matter on which hearing has not started in the court can be discussed in the House.
"Your request has been considered carefully... This calls for a ruling," Ansari said but could not give his ruling as Shiv Sena members kept raising the issue loudly near the podium.
"People are suffering, why cannot it be discussed," Joshi asked.
"Sub-judice matters can be discussed in the House. Union Carbide issue is also a sub-judice matter," he said in an apparent reference to a short duration discussion listed in day's proceedings.
Ansari said the issue cannot be argued by a member who does not speak from his seat. "If this is an effort to restrain the Chair from giving a ruling, then this is a very sad day," he observed, asking members to go back to their seats.
"We have to go by procedures. We have received a firm advice (against discussing the sub-judice boundary dispute in the House)." The Supreme Court, he said, was seized of the matter.
Venkaiah Naidu of the Bharatiya Janata Party said members from both the states can be heard on the issue but Ansari asked "if there is a provision to convert this House into a court of law."
"I regret very much (that) your are constraining the Chair from giving a ruling which is absolutely unprecedented," he said adding the members were expressing their right on a very improper manner.
In a veiled support to the Shiv Sena, Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who hails from Maharashtra, said Joshi and his colleagues were only raising the alleged atrocities on Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum and not the boundary dispute.
Ansari was, however, not impressed and said "the Question Hour cannot be suspended."
"We have been discussing this matter for several days. Let us not start an unmanageable (debate). Please go back to your places," he said, asking the members to raise the alleged atrocities during Zero Hour.
At one point, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal, who said inter-state disputes and sub-judice matters cannot be discussed in the House, walked up to Joshi to persuade him and his colleagues to return to their places.
But the Shiv Sena leader was unrelenting. Fifteen minutes into the pandemonium, Ansari adjourned the House for 15 minutes.