Protests continue in parliament: Lok Sabha passes two Bills without debate
Protests by Opposition members and NDA partner TDP disrupted proceedings in both Houses of Parliament for the ninth straight day, but the government managed to get two Bills passed without debate amid the din.
While members of TDP, TRS, YSR Congress and Congress protested loudly over issues of special status for Andhra Pradesh, increasing reservation quota and PNB fraud, Lok Sabha passed The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017, with voice vote. Amendments moved by several members such as RSP’s N K Premachandran and Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were negated, and when they demanded a division, they found their microphones switched off.
A day earlier, Lok Sabha had passed the Finance Bill without any discussion.
On Thursday, as soon as proceedings began, TDP, TRS and YSR Congress members apart from some Congress MPs stormed into the Well with placards and raised slogans, and the House had to be adjourned within five minutes.
As the House met again at noon, these MPs continued to make noise even as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed ministers and members to lay relevant papers on the table. Before allowing introduction of Gratuity Bill — that deals with increase in gratuity of government employees and enhancing maternity leave to 26 weeks — Mahajan urged the House to maintain decorum and allow passage of the Bill as it was important for workers and women.
Congress alleged that the din was a result of a fixed match between BJP and TDP to not allow discussions on important issues. Party whip Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “This is a very important Bill that requires discussion with every member of this House. It is incumbent on the government to make sure there is order…” Mahajan said she agreed it needed discussion, but it was not possible. She allowed Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar to introduce the Bill. Despite amendments moved by Chowdhury and Premachandran, the Bill was passed in 10 minutes.
The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was similarly passed in 10 minutes. The Bill proposes to grant a party right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of business contract and to reduce discretion of courts in such matters. The House was then adjourned for the day.
The Upper House was adjourned amid protests by Congress MPs over remarks by Y S Chowdhary, who recently resigned as Union minister, on division of Andhra Pradesh. Chowdhary’s remarks were expunged on directions of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
The House reassembled later only to be adjourned for the day as the slogan-shouting continued.