New Delhi, September 20
Some Opposition members led by the TMC climbed on to the Chairman’s podium, tore official papers, and heckled the presiding officer as they opposed the government’s push to pass two contentious farm bills on Sunday without considering their demand for sending the proposed legislations to a house committee.
Ruckus prevailed after Deputy Chairman Harivansh overruled Opposition pleas for postponing Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s reply to the debate on the two Bills till Monday as the scheduled sitting time of the House was over.
As slogan-shouting Opposition members rushed into the Well, Harivansh put motions by Congress, TMC, DMK and CPM members for sending the bills to a select committee of Rajya Sabha for greater scrutiny, for the vote.
He declared the motions have been negated by voice vote even as movers of the motion sought division of votes.
As the Chair took clause-by-clause passage of the Bills, Derek O’Brien of the TMC and some other Opposition members climbed on to the podium showing the rule book to Harivansh.
Some members tore official papers.
Slogan-shouting members tried to heckle the presiding officer who was protected by House marshals.
As unruly scenes prevailed, mikes installed in the House were muted and a few minutes later the proceedings were adjourned for around 15 minutes.
When the House re-assembled, the Opposition members were again in the Well chanting slogans. At least one of them climbed on the table of officials.
Harivansh said a division of vote cannot be sought from the Well of the House and insisted they should first return to their seats.
As per procedure lobbies have to be cleared for enabling electronic voting on a legislation.
Amid the uproar and slogan-shouting, the Deputy Chairman put the two Bills -- Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 -- for approval through voice vote.
With government having numbers of its favour the Bills were passed. This completes parliamentary approval process for legislation of the Bills.
Now, they would be sent to the President of India for his assent. Once the President gives assent, they will become law.
Twelve Opposition parties later gave a notice for a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh over the manner in which the two farm Bills were passed.
The parties that have submitted the notice include the Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI, CPM, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said 12 parties have given a notice of no-confidence against the deputy chairman, as the manner in which the Bills were passed is a “murder” of democracy.
“Our demand for adjourning the House and division of votes was disallowed,” he said. “We gave a no-confidence against the attitude of Deputy Chairman and the manner in which the Bills were passed.” JD(U) leader Harivansh was re-elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House on September 14, the first day of the ongoing Monsoon Session.
Patel said the Deputy Chairman should have “safeguarded democratic traditions but harmed them instead”.
The protesting members sat in Rajya Sabha after the House was adjourned following the passage of the Bills.
TMC MP Derek O’Brien also accused the government of “murdering” the Parliamentary system and democracy.
“The government did not allow the Opposition a vote on the farmers’ bills. It is a sad day for the Parliamentary democracy,” he said.
The TMC MP alleged that the government knew that it did not have the numbers and that is why they did not allow a division of votes.
“Today, the BJP tried to break the back of yet another great institution of our democracy: Parliament. The basic rights of MPs guaranteed by the Constitution are snatched. No vote allowed in RS on farmers bills. Today’s day will be written in black letters,” he said. PTI
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