8

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

LOK SABHA

Instances when papers sought to be laid on the Table of the House were not treated as papers laid and the documents were returned to the members: During the Third Session of the Thirteenth Lok Sabha, the following papers sought to be laid on the Table of the House by some members were not treated as papers laid due to the reasons mentioned against each and the documents were returned to the members concerned: (i) A copy of the Journal-Dristibhangi (in Bengali) language was sought to be laid by Shri Sontosh Mohan Dev, MP, on 25 April 2000, while taking part in the discussion on the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Communications (The member had only referred to the allegations published in the Journal  to reinforce his argument); (ii) Photostat copy of the letter written by the Leader of the Opposition, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and addressed to the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sought to be laid by Shri K.H. Muniyappa, member, on 9 May 2000, while taking part in the discussion on the Constitution (Ninetieth Amendment) Bill, 2000 (All the contents of the letter were quoted by the member which formed part of the proceedings); (ii) A copy of the article on pending railway projects in Tamil Nadu, published in the Tamil Daily, Dinamalar dated 13 May 2000 was sought to be laid by Shri P.H. Pandian, member, while raising the matter regarding the delay in sanction of pending railway projects in Tamil Nadu, during the Zero hour on  15 May 2000 (The Dinamalar is a public document and is easily  available).

Besides, there was no demand for laying these documents on the Table of the House.

Instance when members were permitted to lay their written  speeches on the Table of the House: On 2 May 2000, during the Discussion on the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Deputy Speaker, Shri P.M. Sayeed observed that due to the long list of participants in the debate and paucity of time, he would allow members to lay their speeches on the Table of the House. Thereafter, two members laid their written speeches on the Table of the House in full and one member laid his written speech partially.

Cut Motions are allowed to be moved only if there is proper dis-cussion on a particular Demand: On 2 May 2000, before the Speaker, Shri G.M.C. Balayogi put all the outstanding Demands for Grants
relating to Ministries/Departments which could not be discussed, to the vote of the House, rising on a Point of Order, Shri Rupchand Pal, member, submitted that he had given notices of cut motions relating to the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and the Ministry of Chemicals  and Fertilisers demanding roll back of the withdrawal of subsidy and demanded response from the Government on his cut motions. Sarvashri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Rajesh Pilot and Somnath Chatterjee also supported the contention of Shri Rupchand Pal.

Thereupon, the Speaker, observed:

      “I have received a number of cut motions in respect of Demands for Grants which are to be guillotined. Under Rule 209(a), a member giving notice of such a cut motion shall indicate in precise terms the particulars of the policy which he proposes to discuss.

      The Cut Motion is a form of initiating discussion on the Demands so that the attention of the House is drawn to the matters specified in such a motion. The cut motions are thus allowed to be moved only if there is to be a proper discussion on a particular Demand. In this Session, the cut motions in respect of only the Demands for Grants relating to the Ministries of Communications, Home Affairs, and Human Resource Development were circulated since they have alone come up for discussion by the House. As no time is available for discussion on the Demands for Grants of the remaining Ministries, which have to be guillotined today, the cut motions pertaining to these Ministries have neither been printed nor circulated. I have, therefore, disallowed these notices”.

Thereafter, the Speaker put all the outstanding Demands for Grants to the vote of the House.

Adjournment Motion-Consent withheld since the matter could be raised during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address: On 17 April 2000, after hearing the Leader of the Opposition, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, and Sarvashri N.N. Krishnadas, Varkala Radhakrishnan, P.H. Pandian, Basudeb Acharia, Subodh Ray, E. Ahamed and Rupchand Pal on the notices of Adjournment Motion tabled by them regarding the sharp increase in prices of commodities like LPG, Kerosene, Diesel, Urea and the items for those below the poverty line, distributed through the Public Distribution System, the Speaker, Shri G.M.C. Balayogi observed:

      “Hounourable Members, I have received notices of Adjournment Motion from Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Sarvashri N.N.
Krishnadas, Varkala Radhakrishnan, P.H. Pandian, Basudeb Acharia, Kamal Nath, Madhavrao Scindia, Subodh Ray,
Rupchand Pal and E. Ahamed, M.P.s, regarding the Government decisions taken recently, causing immense hardships to the people, in particular the economically weaker sections, those below the poverty line and the farmers, which is a direct consequence of the sharp increase in prices of commodities like LPG, Kerosene, Diesel, Urea and the items for those below the poverty line, distributed through the PDS.

      This subject can be raised during discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address which is listed in the List of Business for today. This matter can also be raised during discussion on the Finance Bill. I am, therefore, withholding my consent to the raising of the matter by way of Adjournment Motion.

      Similarly, there are other notices of Adjournment Motion from Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav and Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh regarding the killing of innocent Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, and the notice given by Shri G.M. Banatwalla regarding the police action on the students in the campus of Jamia Milia Islamia University. They can also be raised during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address. Therefore, I am disallowing these notices also.”

Instance when the House was adjourned for want of quorum: On 16 May 2000, after the Lobbies were cleared and the motion for con-sideration of the Bill further to amend the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, was put to vote, the Chairman, Dr. Laxminarayan Pandey, observed that there was no quorum. The House was, accordingly adjourned for want of quorum at 19.56 hrs. and the division on the motion was held over. The motion in question was adopted on the following day by division and the Bill was passed.

The matter relating to delay in laying papers on the Table of the House is referred to the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table and not raised on the floor of the House: On 8 May 2000, after the Question Hour, Shri Ramesh Chennitahala, member, raised the issue regarding delay on the part of the Government in laying certain papers on the Table of the House for which he had already given advance notice of the Speaker. Thereupon, the Speaker, Shri G.M.C. Balayogi observed:

“... No doubt, there has been an undue delay on the part of the Government in laying certain papers. However, in view of provisions of rule 305C, the matter has to be referred to the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table of the House instead of raising it on the floor of the House.”

Bills which are of trivial nature and do not involve any policy matter are not referred to the Standing Committees: On 8 May 2000, at about 15.00 hrs., before the Insecticides (Amendment) Bill, 2000, was taken up for consideration and passing, the Chairman, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh observed:

      “Shri Ramesh Chennithala has tabled a notice regarding the reference of certain Bills to the Departmentally–Related Standing Committees which are included in today’s List of Business.

      The Indian Companies (Foreign Interests) and the Companies (Temporary Restrictions on Dividends) Repeal Bill, 2000 and the Direct-Tax Laws (Miscellaneous) Repeal Bill, 2000 seek to repeal certain enactments which have already become obsolete. The Bills are of trivial nature and hence the Speaker has not referred these Bills to the respective Standing committees.

      The Insecticides (Amendment) Bill, 2000 seeks to amend the Parent Act to remove the lacuna pointed out by the Supermen Court in Dr. Ashok Vs. Union of India. The Union Minister of Agriculture had also requested the Speaker not to refer the Insecticides (Amendment) Bill, 2000 to the Standing
Committee as it does not involve any policy matter. The Speaker, therefore, has not referred the above Bill to the Standing Committee.

      The Food Corporation of India (Amendment) Bill, 2000 and the Sugarcane Control (Additional Powers) Repeal Bill, 2000 were introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 28 February 2000 and 14 March 2000, respectively. The Rajya Sabha initiative of referring the Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha has to come from the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.”

Instance when announcement regarding postponement of sitting due to lack of quorum was made by Deputy Secretary: On 28 April 2000, the House was adjourned at 13.06 hrs. to meet again at 14.10 hrs. As quorum could not be made, even after ringing of bell thrice from 14.10 hrs. to 14.21 hrs., Deputy Secretary (T) informed members present as fellows:

      “There is no quorum. The House, therefore, cannot meet and we may not start the House till there is quorum. Honourable Chairman has directed that the House will re-assembled at 14.35 hrs.”

The House accordingly re-assembled at 14.35 hrs.

Instance when the Speaker adjourned the House before the scheduled time: On 4 May 2000, after disposal of the Finance Bill, 2000, the Speaker, Shri G.M.C. Balayogi adjourned the House at 16.52 hrs. i.e. 1 hr. 08 mts. before the scheduled time as all the business listed for the day was exhausted.

Instance when some members sought clarification from a Minister on a Statement made by him: On 20 April 2000, on a Statement made by the Union Minister of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri S.S. Dhindsa match-fixing in Cricket, some members sought clarifications and the Minister replied thereto.

State Legislatures

Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha

Second Report of the Rules Committee (1999-2000): One of the important developments during the Budget Session of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha was the presentation and laying of the Second Report of the Rules Committee (1999-2000) on the Table of the House. Some of the major changes recommended by the Committee and adopted by the House are as follows: (i) the period of the House for each sitting day has been extended by half-an-hour; (ii) now on a single day a member can ask only two Starred and three Unstarred Questions;  (iii) the Minister concerned shall now apprise the House, during the next Session of the House of the action taken on the Government and Private Members’ Resolutions adopted by the House, and (iv) in a Session now a member cannot give more than two notices of motions under Rule 117. Moreover, the Minister-in-charge shall apprise the House during the next Session of  the action taken by the Government on the motions adopted by the House in its previous Session. The number of Departmentally—Related Standing Committees has been reduced from 7 to 6. A new Rule 208(2) has been incorporated vide which it has been made mandatory that the Government shall now place a Memorandum of Action taken on the points raised during discussion on the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board’s Budget on the Table of the House during discussion on the next year’s Budget as under section 61(4) of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948.

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly

New Parliamentary Device “Point of Propriety”: Under Rule 97 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, a member can give a notice of Adjournment Motion on a matter of urgent public importance for which at least one hour notice before the commencement of the sitting of the Assembly is required.

In recent years, the volume of such notices was on the rise and because of that a great deal of the valuable time of the House was consumed. Therefore, the Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, decided to start a new device called “Point of Propriety”, after discussion with the Leaders of Groups. Accordingly, a member can raise a matter of urgent importance (maximum 5 notices per day and a maximum of 5 minutes per notice) on which no discussion will take place, but the concerned Minister is required to send a written answer to the member within a period of one month. It was also decided that for the time being this device should be tried on experimental basis without incorporating in the Rules Book.

In the Budget Session 2000, this device showed excellent result as 63 matters of “Point of Propriety” were raised on the floor of the House. It helped reducing the number of notices given under Rule 97.