The General Purposes Committee (GPC) of Rajya Sabha was today briefed on the changes proposed to the existing ‘Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States’ at a meeting chaired by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu here today. Leaders of 23 parties in the Upper House attended the meeting.
It may be recalled that the Chairman had earlier desired a comprehensive review of the existing Rules, particularly which seem to be inadequate with the passage of time and are not very specific and require suitable amendments has been taken up so as to facilitate smooth functioning of the House and increased opportunities for participation for Members in the proceedings of the House.
After coming into being in 1952, the Council of States had adopted the Rules of the Legislative Council that in existence earlier till regular Rules came into force w.e.f. July, 1964. The GPC has so far submitted 13 Reports based on which the present Rules were amended from time to time and the present review undertaken is the most comprehensive since 1964.
Rajya Sabha Chairman constituted a two Member ‘Rules Review Committee’ in May, 2018 for recommending changes to the current Rules after examining the existing Rules, Practices, Directions and Rulings by the Presiding Officers of both the Houses; suggestions and views expressed by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and the Members and others and best practices in comparable Parliaments of other countries.
The Rules Review Committee comprising of V.K. Agnihotri, former Secretary General of Rajya Sabha and Dinesh Bhardwaj, former Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Law and Justice has held 51 meetings including with officials of Rajya Sabha Secretariat before submitting it’s Report.
Secretary General of Rajya Sabha, Desh Deepak Verma briefed the GPC on the Report of Rules Review Committee which contained 77 amendments to the existing Rules besides 124 new Rules for consideration. The review of Rules seeks to impart clarity to several ambiguous provisions of the present Rules besides incorporating certain directions given by the Chairman and addressing certain eventualities not envisaged earlier like voting/division when the House is not in order.
The existing Rules of Rajya Sabha contain 303 Rules regarding various aspects of functioning of the House. The amendments to the existing Rules and new Rules on being approved by the Rules Review Committee will be incorporated without disturbing the present numbering.
The next meeting of the GPC will be held after the second part of Budget Session of Parliament for a detailed consideration of the proposed changes.
Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, Leader of the House Thaawarchand Gehlot, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Dr. C.P.Thakur (BJP), A. Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK), Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) and Prasanna Acharya (BJD) were among the leaders who attended the GPC meeting.