A combative Congress today sought the expunction of remarks by Leader of Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley against the Uttarakhand Speaker. While justifying the imposition of central rule in the state, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that a defeated money bill was shown as passed by the Uttarakhand Speaker. The statement evoked strong response from Congress members.
The opposition party members, who raised slogans and trooped into the Well at regular intervals disrupting proceedings, demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks that the “real breakdown of constitutional machinery” had occurred when the presiding officer (Speaker) of the assembly “ignored” the vote of 35 out of 67 members against the appropriation bill to declare it passed.
They argued that the remark by Jaitley was akin to questioning the decision of the Speaker.
“The remarks are deplorable and should be expunged,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said when the House reconvened at 2 PM after three adjournments earlier.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said he respected Jaitley a lot because he had always spoken for maintaining the dignity of the Speaker.
He also said that he and his party had always listened to Jaitley on the decision of the Speaker being supreme even when the opposition had earlier questioned the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to bring in certain bills as money bills.
“He (Jaitley) has always said the Speaker’s decision is final and cannot be challenged. But then he questions the decision of the Speaker of the (Uttarakhand) Assembly. We cannot accept two understandings,” he said.
Azad said “a bad practice” was being set by questioning the ruling of the Speaker and imposing President’s Rule.
Responding to Azad, Jaitley said when the proclamation for President’s Rule is discussed in the House, the government will justify each clause and reason why it was imposed.
Hitting back, Jaitley asked how the Appropriation Bill was passed in the assembly and reiterated that 35 out of 67 legislators had written to the Governor saying they had voted against it.
“It was breakdown of constitutional machinery. A defeated Bill was shown as being passed,” Jaitley asserted, adding that “it is for the first time in 70 years that a defeated government was allowed to continue”.