Opposition members tore papers and threw them around as relentless protests by them and other parties disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha for the ninth day on Thursday, but the government managed to get two bills passed without debate amid the din.
The proceedings of House were paralysed as opposition parties, along with ruling NDA partner TDP, stormed the Well as soon as it met and continued with their noisy protests over a number of issues, including the PNB scam, special status for Andhra and increase of quota.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan first adjourned the House till noon and then for the day.
However, the government pushed two bills – The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, for passage amid this din and the House passed them with a voice vote without debate.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose party members were also in the Well, sought a discussion on the bills. With continuous protests by different parties making the prospect of any discussion improbable, the Speaker went ahead with the proceedings for the passage of bills.
Opposition members were seen tearing papers and throwing them around in protest as the second bill was passed before the Speaker adjourned the House for the day. Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill was an important piece of legislation as he sought the opposition’s cooperation.
The Bill notifies the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the central government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law. Moving the bill for passage, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said it is a very important legislation for employees, especially women.
The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract and to reduce discretion of courts in such matters.
Protests began in the House as soon as the Speaker took up the Question Hour in the morning, with members from various parties trooping into the Well holding placards. When union minister Ram Kripal Yadav was responding to the first question on rural housing, the protesting members raised their pitch, drowning his voice.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar urged the protesting members, including the Congress, to return to their seats and allow the House to function. He said Parliament is the ‘maha panchayat’ of the country where issues are discussed but disruptions were not allowing important issues to be raised. He also thanked the Speaker for trying to ensure smooth functioning and said the government was open to discuss issues including bank scam, Cauvery water management board and special status for Andhra Pradesh, but the House has to function first and members have to vacate the Well.
As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 12 noon minutes before it was adjourned till Friday.
While members from the Congress, TMC, TDP, YSR Congress and TRS were in the Well raising slogans and holding placards, MPs from the Left were standing at their seats and shouting slogans.
Since March 5, when Parliament had met after a recess, the Lok Sabha has seen disruptions on a daily basis. Amid the din, the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills were yesterday passed by the House without discussion.