NEW DELHI: Amid continued disruption in the Rajya Sabha over the suspension of 12 MPs, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said “disapproval of undemocratic conduct in the House cannot be decried as undemocratic”, and urged the ruling and opposition benches to resolve the impasse.
Twelve opposition MPs were suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday for the Winter Session of Parliament for their “unruly” conduct in the previous session. The Opposition has described the suspension as “undemocratic and in violation of all the Rules of Procedure” of the Upper House.
The House proceedings have been disrupted since then.
On Thursday, which was the fourth sitting of the Winter Session, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for about 50 minutes soon after listed papers were tabled in the morning.
“The House could not transact any business during the last three days,” Naidu rued.
He said some of the leaders and Rajya Sabha members “in their wisdom, chose to describe the suspension of 12 members as undemocratic”. “I have struggled to understand if there was any justification in that kind of a narrative being propagated but could not.”
The Rajya Sabha chairman said this was not the first time that such a suspension has happened. Starting in 1962 till 2010, members were suspended on 11 occasions in furtherance to motions moved by the governments of the day.
“Were all of them undemocratic? If so, why was it resorted to so many times?” Naidu asked.
While terming the suspension “undemocratic”, both within and outside the House, “not even a word is being said about the reasons given for the suspension, the disdainful conduct of some members during the last session, which I have categorically called as ‘acts of sacrilege’ on the last day of the last session”, he said.
As opposition members, including from Congress, kept protesting, Naidu said the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) clearly provide for the suspension of members for disrupting the proceedings of the House and for misconduct lowering its dignity, under Rules 255 and 256.
The suspended MPs include six from the Congress, two each from the Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from the CPI and CPI(M). This is the first time that 12 MPs have been suspended in one go in the Rajya Sabha for the remainder of the session for unruly behaviour.
The reasons for the latest suspensions were in the public domain and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi gave the reasons while moving the Motion for suspension on the first day of this session, he said.