Disruption prevents passage of anti-corruption bill in Rajya Sabha

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha. PTI/RSTV

New Delhi: Members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha.
PTI/RSTV

Rajya Sabha on Wednesday saw 10 adjournments, 9 of them post the resumption of proceedings at 2 PM. The House saw repeated adjournments as the opposition and ruling benches differed on the introduction and passage of anti-graft amendment bill.

While the bill — The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 — was moved by Union Minister Jitender Singh, the two sides differed on the issue of division for its introduction.

After the bill was moved by the government, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien first sought voice vote and then division for the introduction of the bill. However, due to the protest by the Opposition parties, including Congress MPs, the division could not be held.

In between, there was a brief exchange between the treasury and Opposition with Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma contending that new members, who have taken oath in the last two days are yet to get their divisions marked and therefore, the division vote cannot be held.

His contention was, however, responded to by the treasury with Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying that new members can give their vote by writing on the piece of paper.

But as disruptions continued even after several adjournments through the second half of the day, the House was finally adjourned by the deputy chair after it assembled at 5:10 PM.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy too pressed for the division on the introduction of the bill.

Among its significant provisions, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013, redefines criminal misconduct and modified penalties for offences related to taking bribe, so that it can be made a criminal act.

Earlier in the day, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had once again expressed his anguish on the ongoing disruptions which were leading to repeated adjournments. He urged the members to at least let the House transact business to pass important bills.

It was for the 20th day on Wednesday, since the beginning of the second leg of the Budget Session, that the House saw disruptions by the Opposition MPs over several issues, including Andhra Pradesh special status and the supreme court’s ruling on the SC/ST Act.