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On Eve of Monsoon Session, Opposition Sounds Alarm Over 'Lethal' Trend Set by BJP

The letter by leaders of 7 opposition parties highlights how the no-confidence motion, introduced by YSR Congress and TDP MPs in the last Parliamentary session, was not honoured by the Lok Sabha chair.


Updated:July 17, 2018, 8:24 PM IST
On Eve of Monsoon Session, Opposition Sounds Alarm Over 'Lethal' Trend Set by BJP
PM Modi, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar, Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge and other leaders after an all-party meeting ahead of the monsoon session. (PTI Photo/Atul Yadav)

New Delhi: Parliamentarians from seven opposition parties have written to Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha, expressing "deep anguish" over the manner in which BJP allegedly circumvented constitutional norms during the last Parliamentary session.

The letter is signed by Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim, SP’s Dharmendra Yadav, NCP’s Tariq Anwar, RJD leader Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, CN Jayadevan of CPI, PK Kunhalikutty of Kerala-based IUML and AAP’s Bhagwant Mann.

Aam Aadmi Party’s inclusion in this letter addressed to the Lok Sabha Speaker is interesting considering its near absence from the larger opposition coalition build-up and its differences with some of the opposition parties, including Congress.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had last week written to opposition parties expressing concern over the frequent disruptions in Parliament and asked them to introspect while ensuring that the dignity of Parliament was not undermined.

The opposition's letter, on the other hand, claims that BJP bulldozed through the previous Lok Sabha session by not allowing debate on several important bills, “which will have bearing on constitutionally guaranteed rights being converted into virtually 'single-house bills' by way of certifying them as money bills”.

"...The Budget Session was witness to another trend which, to say the least, will prove to be lethal to our Constitutional democracy, if not checked," the opposition leaders said.

It further went on to criticise the manner in which the latest budget was sneaked in “in most unconnected, retrogressive and anti-democratic measures by way of introducing inadmissible amendments to the Finance Bill and pushing them through without the world knowing what was happening in the temple of world's largest democracy”.

Perhaps more significantly, the letter highlights how the no-confidence motion, introduced by YSR Congress and TDP MPs in the last Parliamentary session, was not honoured by the Lok Sabha chair.

"The utter disregard to the rules and the Constitution displayed by the ruling dispensation did not add to the glory of the Chair and the House. We have seen how, day after day, for thirteen consecutive days the House of People was not even allowed to decide on the admissibility of the no-confidence motion.

"For all your concern for the image of our Parliament globally, this ignominious chapter in the history of Indian Parliament has no precedent world over," the leaders claimed in the letter.

The mention of Mahajan's treatment to the no-confidence motion proposed in the previous session is significant because Congress' leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has already talked about introducing another no-confidence motion in the upcoming session with the backing of 12 opposition parties.

They said once 50 members stood in favour of the motion sought to be moved, the speaker had to announce that the House had granted leave (permission) for no confidence motion to be taken up.

In the letter, the Parliamentarians state that "Rule 198 of Lok Sabha doesn't vest any discretionary powers in the Speaker as far as admissibility of the No-Confidence motion is concerned". It adds that once 50 members stand in favour of the motion, the Speaker has to grant permission for the motion to be taken up. "The Speaker has no discretion. It is the House which decides admissibility."

The letter, hinting at the biased nature of the proceedings in the Lower House of the Parliament, ends with a Sanskrit saying, the translation of which, as provided in the letter, is: “And the spring is not far, for the people to realise who is the real singer and the truth of what is being sung.”

| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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