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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The ‘House of Elders’ hits a new nadir

Nothing can justify the chimpanzee like behaviour of opposition MPs in the House of elders which now seems a misnomer to describe the Upper House of Parliament after the disgraceful behaviour of MPs who were seen jumping on tables tearing rulebooks and throwing them on the Deputy Chairman’s face apart from manhandling Marshalls.

Don’t forget that these are nominated members from their respective parties and are in illustrious company of other nominated members who have achieved distinction in their respective fields. But the deplorable behaviour and the hooliganism resorted to by the 6 suspended members has brought parliamentary democracy to a new low and the country’s image as taken a battering internationally.

The images of this rowdyism, ironically in the House which is called the house of elders have travelled far and wide for the world to see and no amount of instigation can justify such ignominious conduct by the MPs. Rule 252 to 254 lay down the procedure to be adopted for division in the Rajya Sabha and in all fairness the Deputy Chairman should have allowed for the division to take place by invoking Rule 253 and 254 to set all controversy at rest.

This would have partly absolved the government of the blame that it was trying to bulldoze legislation by way of ordinances. Ravi Shankar Prasad was heard saying that the motion was defeated 110/72 which is all the more reason that the division should have taken place.

The Deputy Chairman defied logic when he did not put the motion to vote and hurried through the legislation earning the wrath of the opposition. The opposition which was already feeling peeved for being robbed of the question hour by the government gave vent to its feeling at the slightest opportunity but the method adopted was insanely and disgusting.

Ruffing up Marshalls and climbing on desks tearing rulebooks and gesticulating rudely at the Chair has not only cast a shadow on the credibility of the members but also lowered the dignity of the house. The government on its part could have avoided the ordinance route and referred the bill to the standing committee in accordance with the parliamentary and democratic norms. The Deputy Chairman, instead of going on a symbolic 24 hour fast, should have allowed for the division to satisfy the opposition sensing the mood of the house.

Heavens would have not fallen if another 20 minutes of the house had been taken in enforcing Rule 253 or 254 and ensuring division to the satisfaction of all members. But the impetuosity of the Deputy Chairman and the seeming haste of the government has ensured that the parliament got adjourned sine die 9 days before its scheduled time.

The opposition along with one ally of the government have ensured that the farm bills which were supposedly a reformist legislation for the farmers have now snowballed into a major agitation with the government on the backfoot and the farmers – for whose welfare the bills were moved – up in arms against the government.

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine


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