New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu expressed dislike for the thin attendance in the House and rebuked them when a crucial legislation to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes was approved last evening.
As the day’s proceedings started, Mr. Naidu observed that a total of 156 members were present when the constitution amendment bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
“We just scraped through,” he lamented. Rajya Sabha has a total strength of 245. Majority of the members, that is more than half, are required to be present when an amendment to the Constitution is passed. It can be passed only when two-thirds of the members are present and vote in favour.
“Yesterday, we passed a historic bill unanimously,” he said and went on to make his point.
“What is the total presence in the House? 156. What is the strength of the House? On such a constitution amendment where there is unanimity, where there is consensus, and we just scrape through,” he said citing the rule on passage of a constitution amendment bill. The bill could have fallen if the numbers were a little less.
“We were exactly a little above the mark, that’s all. Otherwise, you can’t get it approved also,” he said. He said on such matters, political parties should issue whips to their members to ensure their presence.
“On such matters, parties also through their whips (leaders) must see to it that members are cautioned, or guided or directed to be there on time and also vote in such things,” he said.
Mr Naidu said it would become a “sad commentary” over the functioning of the Rajya Sabha if someone was to take note of the attendance.
“Whenever there is an important legislation in Parliament, better be present in the House in large numbers, so that a message goes to the society,” he said.
He also directed the members of the House to be punctual and assemble in the House sometime before the start of the day’s proceedings at around 11:00 am.
“I have been seeing that members are coming after the Chairman comes and the House assembles,” he said.
“The practice is that everybody should be there in the seat before the Chairman comes and then we must start. That will send a good message.”
Observing that entering five minutes early would not make any loss, he said when members enter inside the house late, they also disturb others while trying to reach their allocated seat.
“All these things can be avoided. This will enhance the prestige and decorum of the House,” he said.
Mr. Naidu also directed all the ministers to give advance notice of leave of absence when papers listed against their name are to be taken up.
“I will not allow any statement made by any minister on behalf of other ministers unless I get notice beforehand and then I permit it,” he said.
Despite there has been a little improvement, still some people at the last moment approach the Table office and the Secretariat for allowing someone else to lay the papers on their behalf.
“This is not permissible. This is the last day. I am not going to allow it at all. Please take note of it,” he added.
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