Tuesday, December 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Discussion under Rule 184 rejected
Ayodhya issue paralyses Parliament
Tribune News Service and agencies

NEW DELHI, Dec 11 — The BJP challenged the Congress to bring a no-confidence motion against the Vajpayee Government after proceedings in Parliament were aborted for the sixth successive day by an adamant opposition demand that three central ministers charged with involvement in the demolition of the Babri masjid resign and that the Prime Minister apologise for his remarks on the temple issue.

Although the Opposition seemed determined not to let the proceedings get under way in both Houses, there were differences on what the Opposition parties wanted. While Samajwadi Party members trooped into the well of the Lok Sabha shouting slogans “Pradhan Mantri isteefa do” (Prime Minister resign), Congress members chanted “we want discussion under Rule 184” which entails voting.

In the melee, Speaker G.M.C Balayogi rejected the notices given by the Congress, Left parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party for a discussion under Rule 184 on the charges framed by a trial court against Union Ministers L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi and Uma Bharati in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Giving reasons for the rejection, the Speaker observed that since the matter was pending before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in a revision petition filed against the September 9, 1997, order of the Lucknow Special Judge, all notices under Rule 184 were liable to be disallowed.

He also observed that as per the provisions of rules, a notice under Rule 184 to be admissible “shall be restricted to a matter of recent occurrence” and “shall not relate to any matter which is under adjudication by a court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India.”

Soon after his ruling and observing that the stalling of proceedings during the past week had “really pained me”, Mr Balayogi adjourned the House for the day.

Within minutes of its assembling, the Rajya Sabha too witnessed the pandemonium, forcing Chairman Krishan Kant to adjourn the House for the day.

Mr Krishan Kant refused to allow any of the remarks to go on record and said nothing could take precedence over question hour.

The Congress and other Opposition members persisted with their demand in the Upper House for an immediate discussion on the Ayodhya issue.

Even before the Lok Sabha assembled this morning, Samajwadi Party members had surrounded the Speaker’s podium and kept on shouting slogans “kanoon virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, Babri Masjid girane walon ki sarkar nahin chalegi” (law-breaking government will not run, a government responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid will not run).

In his ruling, Mr Balayogi said he was duty-bound to follow and enforce the rules made by the House and also ensure that business was transacted in an orderly manner.

Observing that he had placed two proposals before the House in a bid to resolve the stalemate, Mr Balayogi said members wanting a discussion on the matter could give notices in an appropriate form which were admissible under the rules.

Alternatively, he said the House was supreme in procedural matters and could suspend rules if circumstances so demanded.

The notices for a discussion under Rule 184 had been given by Mr S. Jaipal Reddy (Congress), Mr Somnath Chatterjee and four others (CPM), Mr Rashid Alvi (BSP), Mr G.M. Banatwala (Muslim League) and Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD).

The Prime Minister and Mr Advani were not present in the House while Ms Bharti was occupying one of the back benches.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan stated that the Speaker’s ruling was crystal clear and the matter could not be discussed under Rule 184.

“The government does not stand on issue of prestige as far as the rules were concerned,” he said.

Mr Mahajan said following the ruling of the Speaker it was for the Opposition to redraft their motions. But if the Speaker agreed to admit a motion of the Opposition under Rule 184, the government would not have any objection, he added.

The Prime Minister was ready to make a suo motu statement, he said.

The BJP, meanwhile accused the Opposition of holding Parliament to ransom by not allowing normal business to be conducted in the House.

“It is unfortunate that this stalemate is continuing even after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was prepared to make a statement and the government was ready for discussion on any issue. Parliament is being held to ransom by a minority”, party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra told reporters here.

VARANASI: The Samajwadi Party will not allow Parliament to function till Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee withdrew his statement on the Ayodhya issue and tendered an unconditional apology to the nation, the General Secretary of the party, Mr Reoti Raman Singh said here today.

“Not only the Opposition but also the coalition partners of the ruling NDA were against Mr Vajpayee’s statement and wanted its immediate withdrawal”, he added.

The CPM meanwhile, charged the non-BJP NDA partners with resorting to “cover-up” of the Prime Minister’s statements on the Ayodhya issue and said they had been “further exposed” by their defence of the three charge-sheeted ministers’ continuance in the Cabinet.

In a statement here, the Polit Bureau also demanded that the Prime Minister should immediately disown his “partisan” remarks on the Ayodhya issue and that the three ministers should quit.


Meeting fails to end impasse

NEW DELHI, Dec 11 (PTI) — The all-party meeting convened by Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi to resolve the impasse over the Ayodhya issue ended in a stalemate today, with the Congress sticking to its demand for a censure motion.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan suggested that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee could make a statement clarifying his position on the issue under “appropriate” rules, Lok Sabha sources said after the meeting.

Mr Vajpayee’s statements on the Ayodhya issue had led the Opposition to stall the proceedings through last week.

The sources quoting Mr Mahajan’s position said it was for the Speaker to decide under which rule the issue should be discussed.

While the Prime Minister could clarify his position either suo motu or under some rule, he could also respond to the Opposition demand for resignation of the three charge-sheeted ministers in that speech, the sources said.

Coming out of the hour-long meeting, Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said the government “is not allowing us to raise the issue under Rule 184”, which entails voting. IUML leader G.M. Banatwalla also supported the Congress demand.

However, the TDP, a major ally of the BJP, said the Congress was sitting on a “technicality” and that the more important issue was Mr Vajpayee’s observation and secularism which could be discussed in the House.

The Samajwadi Party insisted on an apology from the Prime Minister for his statements on temple construction, while the CPM wanted the House to take up the issue under Rule 184.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha, excluding Congress MPs, would meet here tomorrow morning to chalk out a strategy in view of the current impasse in Parliament over the Ayodhya issue.

CPM Rajya Sabha MP Hananan Mullah said the decision to hold the meeting was taken following floor coordination among the non-NDA, non-Congress parties.

He said all these parties were concerned over the current stalemate and felt that Parliament should function in a proper manner.

Giving his party’s approval for the meeting, Samajwadi Party chief whip Akhilesh Singh blamed the Congress for confining the whole issue to resignation of three union ministers. He said now Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should put in his papers.

He said he would give a notice to the Lok Sabha speaker tomorrow under Rules 184 and 193 (short-duration discussion). He said his notices for adjournment and the one under Rule 193 were ignored today.

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