M A I N   N E W S

Govt fighting shy of debate with voting
No adjournment motion allowed in the 15th Lok Sabha
Aditi Tandon & Faraz Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Withdraw the announcement on allowing more Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector or accept the adjournment motion, which would entail voting to censure the government, for a discussion on the issue in the Lok Sabha, asserted the Opposition at the all-party meeting here this morning.

With the government ready to have a discussion without voting, the impasse continued, paralysing Parliament for the sixth consecutive day. While Pranab Mukherjee assuring that he would convey the sentiments of the Opposition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it was back to square one.

However, talking to The Tribune, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said it was not for the government to accept or reject an adjournment motion and that it was the job and the sole prerogative of the Lok Sabha Speaker. Chatterjee as the Speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha had admitted as many as eight adjournment motions.

But in the 15th LS, constituted in June 2009, not a single adjournment notice has so far been allowed. Last week, Speaker Meira Kumar rejected notices for adjournment to discuss price rise. Since the winter session began on November 22, the Opposition has moved notices for adjournment to discuss inflation, black money and now FDI.

Constitutional experts feel that while price rise may not be a subject fit to be debated under an adjournment motion, FDI in retail fulfils the conditions required under Rule 58 of the Conduct of Lok Sabha which deals with the admissibility of adjournment motions.

The former Secretary General of the 14th LS, PDT Achary, told The Tribune, “An adjournment motion is essentially a motion to censure the government. It should deal with a subject that’s very serious and has arisen suddenly in the nature of an emergency. It should signify the government’s failure on an important issue.” He added that rules prescribed no ceiling on how many notices for adjournment can be given.

The FDI issue surfaced suddenly and though it may not signify immediate government failure, the Opposition believes the policy would in the long run fail several people by robbing them of jobs, he pointed out.

Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said there there was no meeting ground at the all-party meeting.

“We suggested that the government should withdraw the announcement now and have a debate on price-rise today and on black money tomorrow. Thereafter the government could introduce the Bills. Conversely, we suggested that the government should accept our adjournment motion on FDI and have a discussion in the House,” said Swaraj. But with UPA allies like the Trinamool Congress, DMK and IUML also opposing the decision, the government, she said, is fighting shy of an adjournment motion.





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