Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said that Rule 267 or the adjournment notices in the House were being ‘grossly misused’ for publicity.
The Opposition created ruckus to protest against Jaitley’s comments and the House had to be adjourned thrice.
When the proceedings for the day began, several MPs including Congress’ Anand Sharma had given notices under Rule 267, which prescribes suspension of business to take up a matter.
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien allowed Anand Sharma to spell out his matter. And Sharma went on say that the NDA government was making efforts to undermine the stature of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Kurien disallowed this notice but Jaitley, objected to Sharma’s remarks, saying adjournment notices were being “grossly abused” for publicity.
As soon as Jaitley leveled the allegation, Congress MPs protested loudly.
Amid the protests, Jaitley went on to say, “In every case, we have found these are not issues under the motion of Rule 267 and therefore, it is a practice which is being grossly abused. Therefore, the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can’t have a Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today. … This has all been enacted.”
Jaitey also demanded that Sharma’s remarks be expunged.
He said that some other members had also given notices and the Chair must protect their rights. Jaitley was referring to a notice given by BJP member Subramanian Swamy to raise the issue of Samjhauta Express blast of 2005. Media reports had suggested that some crucial evidence had been ignored.
Kurien said all notices under Rule 267 were being rejected but the Chair has to first listen to the member to take a decision.
DMK member Thiruchi Siva said he was “hurt” by Jaitley’s remarks that issues were being raised for TV publicity.
To this, Jaitley said, “Every day what is not point of order is raised as point of order knowing fully that you are violating the rule.
“None of us were born today that we don’t realise each other’s games. We know this noise is being created only because some members want to raise the issue of Samjhauta case. We know that. Don’t provide an alibi. I know they are your ally parties. Don’t provide an alibi.”
When the House re-assembled for Question Hour, the Opposition members demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks that adjournment notices were being “misused” for publicity.
As the opposition members remained adamant over their demand for removal of Jaitley’s remarks from the records, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for ten minutes.
The House was again adjourned for ten minutes as leaders of several parties discussed the impasse over the issue in the Chairman’s chamber.
Ansari later said the records will be examined but no conclusion can be arrived at till this is done. “Let the Chair do its own work.”
Azad said he respected the Leader of the House, who normally uses measured language and has never used words which hurt anyone.
“But to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable. We raise issues of the have-nots, that include Dalits, oppressed, downtrodden and the poor and not for the television, which only covers the government,” Azad said.
“The entire opposition is being castigated. We cannot allow this sweeping condemnation of the entire opposition,” Sharma said while demanding that Jaitley’s remarks be expunged.
(With inputs from PTI)