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Speaker set to push ‘no work, no pay’ rule
Issue likely to be discussed at all-party meeting
Rajiv Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is planning to convene a meeting of leaders of all political parties in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament to seek approval of his “no work, no pay” proposal for those Parliamentarians who disrupt proceedings of Parliament.

Though parties across the country’s political spectrum are yet to give a serious thought to Chatterjee’s proposal in view of the just-concluded Presidential poll and the forthcoming Vice-Presidential election, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is unlikely to support the idea.

From early indications available, it appears that the NDA would block the “no work, no pay” move for “obstructionist” members as the Opposition umbrella group feels that it amounts to robbing the MPs of their right to speak in Parliament. The NDA’s rationale behind blocking Chatterjee’s move is that if the MPs don’t voice their constituencies’ and national concerns in Parliament where else can they do it.

The Speaker is understood to have made up his mind to toss his proposal before an all-party meeting which he would like to convene as early as possible in the Monsoon session, expected to begin in the first week of next month.

The Opposition is highly unlikely to see eye-to-eye with the Speaker who is said to be keen to invoke Rule 373 and Rule 374A, the rarely used rules of Parliament proceedings.

Rule 373 says the Speaker may direct any member whose conduct, in his opinion, is grossly disorderly, to withdraw immediately from the House.

Such a member will have to absent himself during the remainder of the day’s sittings, the rule says.

Rule 374A stipulates automatic suspension of a member for grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the rules of the House persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise.

Besides, the Speaker is also keen on measures aimed at securing greater and quicker accountability of the government.

Chatterjee wants the golden Parliamentary rule to be adhered to by the government in letter and spirit: that all policy statements during Parliament sessions be made in Parliament only.

Besides, Chatterjee wants the government to come out with prompt response on urgent matters of public importance raised by members through special mentions under Rule 377.

While the Opposition may not have any problems with the Speaker’s proposals meant for the government, it is unlikely to accept his “no work, no pay” proposals for those MPs who stall Parliament proceedings.

As of now, the MPs get Rs 1,000 as sitting allowance and they can claim this allowance after signing the daily register.

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