Refuting media reports that said that rules of Parliament were not followed when the farm bills were passed in Rajya Sabha on September 20, Deputy Chairperson of the House Harivansh Narayana Singh has issued a clarification on the same, while attaching video footages of proceedings during motions by CPI(M)’s Ragesh and DMK’s Tiruchi Siva.
“I hold a constitutional position and therefore, cannot issue a formal rebuttal. I am bringing these facts to your notice and leave it to your conscience for your judgement,” Singh said in a statement issued on Sunday (September 27).
September 22 saw a hullabaloo in the Upper House of Parliament when the two farm bills were put up for voice vote.
Related news: President gives nod to all farm bills amid protests
The Opposition had demanded a division of votes for the passage of the bills and to refer the bills to a special committee, but had alleged their demands were blatantly ignored in violation of Parliament’s rules.
Videos showed Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien tearing up the rulebook in front of Singh, who was chairing the session and yanking his mic. O’Brien, however, had said that he was in his seat when demanding the division of votes.
A day later, eight Opposition MPs were suspended from attending House proceedings due to their “unruly behaviour”.
However, an Indian Express report on Sunday claimed that footage of Rajya Sabha TV showed that DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and CPI(M)’s KK Ragesh were in their seats when they demanded a division of votes during the passage of the farm bills.
This was contradictory to Singh’s claim that he had refused to the Opposition’s demand of division of votes as the MPs were seated when asked.
In his latest statement, Singh, has clarified that the request by both for physical voting was negated and their motions turned down after a voice vote.
He said Ragesh was in the well of the house when his request to refer the bills to a select committee was turned down through a voice vote.
“The statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance and the amendment for the reference of the bill to select committee moved by Sri KK Ragesh were negated by voice vote by the house at 1.07 pm as Sri Ragesh was in the Well of the house and not on his seat in the gallery at that point of time. This can be seen from the video as after calling him to move his resolution and amendment, I looked at the gallery, but he was not there,” Singh said in the statement.
He said Tiruchi Siva’s motion to refer the bills to a select committee, was taken up at 1.10 pm when he was in his seat.
“It is true that Sri Tiruchi Shiva demanded a division on his amendment for reference of his bill to select committee from his seat at 1.10 p.m. You will see from the same video that around 1.09 pm, one member was tearing the rule book and throwing on me. Besides I was surrounded by some hostile members, who were trying to snatch papers from me,” he added.
“You will appreciate, that as per rules and practice, in order to have a division, two things are essential. Firstly there should be a demand for division and equally important that there should be order in the house,” the note read.
Accusing the speaker of ignoring Parliamentary procedures during the passage of the bills to appease the prime minister, the Opposition had alleged that the voice vote was held to hide the fact that the government lacked numbers to pass the bills.
While the Congress staged a walkout, many Opposition leaders including the eight suspended MPs staged a sit-in on Parliament premises in protest against the deputy chairman’s decision.
The bills, which have triggered massive farmers’ protests across the country received the nod of the President on Sunday to become laws.