Opposition resists govt attempt to introduce bill in Rajya Sabha

Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday resisted the government attempt to introduce a bill passed by Lok Sabha, questioning the procedure adopted.

New Delhi: Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday resisted the government attempt to introduce a bill passed by Lok Sabha, questioning the procedure adopted.

Alleging "violation of rules", members demanded a ruling from Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on the issue of introduction of the Payment and Settlement Systems (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Members from Congress and Left were protesting against the "surprise" listing of the bill, contending that this had become a "new practice" since the new government came and it had happened for the third time in the session only.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to mollify the agitating members saying that it is a very short of piece of legislation having "one point non-contentious" amendment.

The opposition, however countered saying the issue is "not content but procedure" of the manner of bringing the legislation.

Kurien said he is reserving his ruling till the matter is discussed in the Business Advisory Committee meeting.

"There is a rationale in what you said. I accept that...I did not rule out what you said. I am reserving my ruling till the bill is taken up in the BAC," he said.

The issue was raised by P Rajeeve (CPI-M), who said that as per Rule 34, the Business Advisory Committee discusses and allocates time for the legislative business and this bill was not discussed then.

"How can we take up a business for which time has not been allocated in the BAC? This is violation of the rule. Government came out with a business, which was not discussed in the BAC. The House has not been informed. It is a serious violation. We want a ruling from the Chair," Rajeeve said.

Joining Rajeeve, Deputy Leader of Congress Anand Sharma alleged that a "new practice" has started now and bill after bill and business after business is being brought without discussion in the BAC. "This is for the third time it is being done in this session," he said.

Chandan Mitra and V P Singh Badnore (both BJP) countered saying the bill was indeed discussed in the BAC.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also said that it was discussed in the meeting but time was not allocated.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), however, said the bill was neither discussed in the BAC nor time was allocated.

"...It is an irregular practice. It is against the rule. This cannot be taken up...Do not surprise us by bring up bills, which are not discussed," he said, adding this was against "decorum" of the House.

Badnore said the bill is "not new" as it has already been passed by Lok Sabha.

Yechury and Rajeeve said the point of dispute is not content of the bill but its procedure.

Rajeeve even said since Rajya Sabha Chairman had referred a discussion on this bill to the next BAC, listing it for business before that amounts to over-ruling his decision, which prompted Kurien to say that nobody is overruling the decision.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) said it was the Chair's responsibility that the House runs according to rules as he expects members to follow rules.