The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were on Wednesday adjourned sine die, marking the end of the Winter Session of Parliament, one day before its schedule, reported PTI. The session had begun on November 29.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said that the Upper House had reported 47.90% productivity during the 18 sittings.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that the Lower House achieved a record 204% productivity on December 2. The overall productivity of the House was 82%, he said.
The Upper House witnessed repeated disruptions because 12 Rajya Sabha members from five Opposition parties had been suspended for the rest of the session on November 29. The decision was taken because they had allegedly obstructed the functioning of the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Monsoon Session in August.
On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien was also suspended from attending the rest of the Winter Session. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion for the suspension, alleging that O’Brien had thrown a copy of the Parliament rule book at the Chair of the Upper House during a discussion on a Bill about electoral reforms.
On Wednesday, Naidu said that the performance of the Rajya Sabha was below its potential, NDTV reported. “I urge you to introspect and reflect how this session could have been different and better,” he told the MPs. “I do not want to speak elaborately on the course of the session that would lead me to make a very critical view.”
He also stressed that MPs should follow the rulings, regulations and procedures of the House.
“Out of the total scheduled sitting time of 95 hours 6 minutes, the House could discharge business only for 45 hours 34 minutes,” Naidu said, according to ANI.
The Winter Session lost 49 hours and 32 minutes because of disruptions. This session’s productivity of 47.90% is the fifth lowest among that of the 12 sessions presided over by Naidu over the past four years.
The session saw 18 sittings of MP. Important draft laws, including the Bill to repeal the farm laws, and the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, were passed.
After over a year of protests by farmers against the three new agricultural laws, on November 29, the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, was cleared within minutes of it being introduced in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. But the Opposition had objected to the lack of discussion, pointing out that a debate was allowed on the five or six occasions when a law had been scrapped.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, proposed to link Aadhaar with voter identity cards. It will also allow electoral registration officers to seek Aadhaar numbers of people who want to register as voters to establish their identity.
The proposed law was heavily criticised by parliamentarians of Opposition parties. But the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Bill by a voice vote amid a walkout by Opposition MPs. A day before that, the Lok Sabha had passed the draft law despite continuous criticism from members of the Lower House.
‘BJP’s intention was to pass Bills without discussion’: Congress
Leaders from the Opposition, along with suspended MPs, read the Preamble to the Indian Constitution and recited the national anthem before the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the premises of Parliament to protest against the suspension, reported ANI.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Winter Session began with the suspension of the 12 members. “The decision to suspend them in the Winter Session on the incident that happened in the monsoon session was absolutely wrong,” he said, according to ANI. “We wanted to discuss issues of unemployment, inflation and others.”
Kharge alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s intention was to pass the Bills immediately without any discussions. “Since they were not in majority, they did not want voting on the Bills so they decided to reduce some Opposition members,” he said. “As soon as the session started, 12 MPs were suspended.”
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien alleged that every single day in the Winter Session had been “washed out by the government that will now spend the afternoon doing press conferences justifying cold-blooded murder of democracy”.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the party wanted the House to function, but he blamed the government for not meeting the Opposition’s demand to sack Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
“If the government does not answer the Opposition, they are responsible for the adjournment of Parliament,” Chowdhury said, according to ANI.
However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the central government wanted the House to function, but the Opposition “wasted so many days, created ruckus without any discussion”, according to ANI.