Raising concerns over the continued disruptions in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday urged both the Opposition and treasury benches to hold discussions and let the House function.
After the commencement of Business on the fourth day of the ongoing winter session, Naidu said the House could not transact any business during the last three days. Speaking at the House, the Rajya Sabha Chairman said, “I urge both the sides of this august House to talk it out and let the House do its mandated job.”
Naidu said the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States clearly provide for the suspension of members for disrupting the proceedings of the House and for misconduct lowering the dignity of the House, under Rules 255 and 256.
“Some of the respected leaders and members of this august House, in their wisdom, chose to describe the suspension of 12 members as ‘undemocratic’. I have struggled to understand if there was any justification in that kind of narrative being propagated but could not,” he said.
Naidu further said, “While calling this suspension as undemocratic both within and outside the House, not even a word is being said about the reasons given for the suspension, the disdainful conduct of some members during the last session, which I have categorically called as ‘acts of sacrilege’ on the last day of last session. Unfortunately, a message is sought to be sent out that ‘sacrilege’ of the House is democratic but action against such sacrilege is undemocratic. I am sure people of the country would not buy this new norms of democracy.”
Naidu said it is for the House to take a view on its earlier decision of suspension of members and it is for all the concerned to take it forward.
“It is human to err and it is also human to make amends. One cannot refuse to amend and insist on glossing over the wrongdoings. Suspensions, either in the past or now, are only the expression of disapproval of the acts of misconduct of some members by the House. Disapproval of undemocratic conduct in the House cannot be decried as undemocratic, for sure,” he added.
He said the latest suspension is not the first time to have happened. Such suspension of members, starting in 1962 happened on 11 occasions till 2010, further to a Motion moved by the Governments of the day.
“Were all of them undemocratic? If so, why has it resorted to so many times?” he asked.
He said there were suspensions in the past and some of them were revoked prematurely further to the errant members regretting their acts of misconduct in the House.
“I am deeply pained to know from media reports of categorical refusals to express any regret for the acts of misconduct during the last session that led to this round of suspensions. Then what is the way forward? You do not want to regret your misconduct but insist on revoking the decision of this House taken as per due process stipulated under the Rules of the House. Does this amount to upholding the principles of democracy?” Naidu said.