Why Government Acted The Way It Did In Rajya Sabha -Brinda Karat

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published Published on Sep 22, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 23, 2020

-NDTV

Eight opposition members of parliament, arbitrarily suspended from the Rajya Sabha, spent last night at a protest dharna at the foot of the Gandhi statue within the compound of parliament. The conduct of the government and its officials in the Rajya Sabha, which led to such a development, brings it no credit. The country was denied the opportunity to witness the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday when the three bills related to farmers were being discussed. There was an arbitrary decision to switch off the live television proceedings. If indeed, as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said, there was "goondaism" and "grossly unruly behavior" by the opposition, surely it would have been in the government's interest to allow the live telecast to damn the opposition in public opinion. The truth is that if such adjectives are to be used, they would be more applicable to the actions the government took to ensure the passage of the bills.

The government pushed through the bills in a brazen violation of all norms and procedures including the denial to members of parliament of the right to vote on a bill, or an amendment. This is guaranteed under the rules that govern the parliament of India. It is not just a technicality but intrinsically linked to the accountability of MPs to their constituents. Even if a single MP wants to vote, she has that right. For example, Left MPs, even though far reduced in numbers, have insisted on a vote on amendments they moved against labour-related bills even knowing that they would not succeed. It is an expression of commitment to a principle and a policy. In January last year, Lok Sabha MP Owaisi demanded a vote on the constitution amendment bill for reservation for "weaker sections among general castes." His demand was accepted. Only three voted against the bill, but the right of the member was upheld.

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NDTV, 22 September, 2020, https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/modi-jis-preference-for-ordinance-raj-on-display-2299123?fbclid=IwAR01l_3SW8nORq3W3X-8LibPZF4DkRcCcPpIFucsfaGPPflQWPYXReOFzxY


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