Emphasizing the importance of Upper House of Parliament in getting crucial legislations through, Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari said the purpose of the House is to not delay or obstruct Bills, but to give a second view on important legislations.
“It (the Rajya Sabha) was certainly not meant to delay, it was not meant to obstruct,” VP Ansari said.
Speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Rajya Sabha at Work’, at Parliament House, the Vice President, who is also Chairman of the Upper House, stressed that the the decision to have a bicameral legislature was taken “purposefully and consciously” by the makers of the Constitution and it was meant to give “space for reconsideration”.
His comments came in the backdrop of NDA government blaming the Rajya Sabha for delaying the passage of important Bills.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier criticised the Upper House, saying “the wisdom of a directly elected House (Lok Sabha) is questioned by the indirectly elected House (Rajya Sabha).”
Underlining that the members of the Rajya Sabha come from different walks of life with a varied experience, Ansari said that a “second look” has always given useful value additions to legislations.
“This is what makes the second look so relevant. Too many pieces of legislation are landing up in courts. One reason is that sufficient attention is not given to drafting,” he said.
“Those who draft legislation are very competent people, but you look at it from one angle, the judges look at it from another angle. A little comma or a semicolon somewhere else does make a difference where judicial scrutiny is concerned,” the vice president said.
Referring to the past instance of the impeachment proceedings of Soumitra Sen, a former judge of the Calcutta High Court, during the UPA regime, VP Ansari told even then the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Arun Jaitley) wanted to have a second look into the case.
“At the end of the first day (of the impeachment proceedings), the then Leader of the Opposition (Jaitley) sent me a slip of paper. He was to be the last speaker of the day. He said, ‘I do not want to conclude today’.
“I assumed that there must be a good reason. Later on, I asked him what was it. He said, ‘There was paper in the vast volumes of papers that were presented in the inquiry, which I wanted to read again’ and I found the answer. That is the kind of second look which is always helpful,” Ansari said.
(With inputs from the PTI)