In a direct attack on the government’s move to abrogate Article 370 of Constitution, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Rajya Sabha as the council of states should be given greater respect by the executive and should have been consulted before the drastic measures were taken of converting a state into Union Territories and redrawing of its boundaries.
Singh further said that it is a very important duty of the Rajya Sabha to ensure that no law is passed in a moment of heightened emotion.
He suggested several measures to make the House more effective. He said that the Parliament should follow the practice for all bills to be brought before the Upper House.
“We have seen the misuse of money bills leading to bypassing of the Rajya Sabha without any deliberation,” he said. He further said that Parliament should ensure that such instances are avoided as this reduces the stature of the institution.
“Upper House has a critical role to play in the form of checks and balances to a majority government, as it presents the interests of the states,” Sigh said.
He further said that the Rajya Sabha being half in size of the Lok Sabha, the members do not get time to share their insights.
He said the Rajya Sabha should be given more time to study center-state relations as this is a council of states. He also suggested a discussion by the Upper House on the state of the nation’s health and on the state of education.
Before Singh’s speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the House on the occasion of the 250th session of Rajya Sabha. He pointed out in his address about how Article 370 which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha decades ago was abrogated in the same house.