Parliament adjourns for 19th day without transacting business
New Delhi, April 3: No substantial business could be transacted in both the Houses of Parliament on the 19th straight day today due to continued uproar and noisy scenes created by the opposition.
In the Lok Sabha, a day after the nation witnessed large-scale violence over the recent Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act, Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement saying the government was not a party to the decision and, in fact, it has already moved the apex court for a review of its decision.
The only listed business the Rajya Sabha could take up was that 41 newly-elected members took oath or affirmation in the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was renamed the Leader of the House following his re-election.
Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha have not transacted any substantial business ever since Parliament reassembled on March 5 after a recess to carry forward the Budget Session, due to the protests over matters like bank frauds, Cauvery river water, special status for Andhra Pradesh and issues relating to the Dalits and backward communities.
In the Rajya Sabha, soon after the 41 new and re-elected members took oath, members of various parties trooped into the Well raising slogans in support of their demands.
Members of the Congress, TMC, SP, BSP, TDP and those of Tamil parties -- DMK and AIADMK, rushed into the Well soon after the oath ceremony as Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the ministers to lay the listed papers in the House. The Congress and the BSP accused the government of being "anti-Dalit", while the TMC was protesting against bank frauds.
TDP members were demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh, while KVP Ramachandra Rao of the Congress was also seen holding a placard demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.
The two Tamil Nadu parties -- DMK and AIADMK -- were demanding constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board for sharing of river water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Amid loud sloganeering by the protesting members, Naidu tried to bring order in the House. As his appeals did not yield results, he adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier when the Rajya Sabha had assembled, the Chairman announced that Arun Jaitley has once again been named as Leader of the House following his re-election. 65-year-old Jaitley's term had ended yesterday and has been re-elected from Uttar Pradesh.
Among the Ministers who took oath or affirmation were Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Jagat Prakash Nadda and Dharmendra Pradhan. Of the 58 members elected from 15 states in elections last month, 41 took oath of affirmation today.
Among other prominent new members were Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress, who won from West Bengal with Trinamool Congress support. The proceedings in the Lok Sabha were once again disrupted due to protests by AIADMK members seeking early constitution of the Cauvery water management board.
The ruckus saw the first adjournment of House proceedings within four minutes after it assembled to take up the day's business and then for the day few minutes past 12 PM after listed papers were laid and Home Minister Rajnath Singh made the statement.
In his suo motu statement during the Zero Hour amidst sloganeering by AIADMK MPs, Singh said the government was not responsible for the dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and asserted that it was fully committed to protect the interest of the backward communities.
He said there has been widespread anger amongst the people following the March 20 order of the Supreme Court and the people have taken to the streets.
"I wish to inform the House that the Government of India was not party in that case. Through the House, I want to assure the people that there has been no dilution whatsoever by my government, rather after coming to power and examining the SC/ST prevention Atrocities Act, we have taken a decision to strengthen it," he said.
Eight people were killed, including six in Madhya Pradesh and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, during the bandh which witnessed clashes between the police and the protesters, arson and incidence of violence, the Home Minister said, while terming the "widespread rumours" on the issue of reservation as "false and baseless".
Soon after the Home Minister's statement, the Speaker urged the AIADMK members to return to their seats, saying she cannot take up notices on the no-confidence motion unless the House is in order.
"I am duty-bound to place the no-confidence motion. I am sorry. Please go to your seats. I have to do a head count. I have not been able to take up notices on the no-confidence motion," she said.
Congress Chief Whip Jyotiraditya Scindia said the opposition wanted a discussion on the and 50 members were ready for it.
"We also want to discus the dilution of the SC/ST Act," he said. To this, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for a discussion and give reply to the no-confidence motion.
Even though opposition members went back to their seats to bring order in the House to take up the no-confidence motion, slogan-shouting AIADMK members continued their noisy protests in the Well. As the pandemonium continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.