Unable to move CAA motion, Opposition protests
Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition members can use the time allocated to them during the motion of thanks to the President’s address, which had a specific mention of CAA
Opposition parties on Monday protested after they were unable to move a motion for discussion on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) under Rajya Sabha’s Rule 267, which allows taking up an issue after suspending all listed business with the chairman’s permission.
Soon after the Rajya Sabha convened, chairman Venkaiah Naidu announced his decision of not allowing discussions under the rule. Naidu said the opposition members can use the time allocated to them during the motion of thanks to the President’s address, which had a specific mention of CAA. The House was adjourned twice before the lunch break as Opposition protests continued.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Opposition has been following the rules, and if their notices under the rule were not going to be taken up, there needs to be a rethink on continuing with the provision. Later, Azad said parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Communist Party of India (CPI) had given notices under the rule.
“For the last two months, since CAA has been passed, there are people out on the streets and several ministers including the home minister have said NPR [National Population Register] and NRC [National Register of Citizens] will follow. NPR was conducted earlier, but with simple questions, but now it is seeking details about ancestors, where one lived and what one ate...who has this information?”
DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said the rule allows discussion on important issues, but has not been accepted. “This rule has become redundant. The whole country is burning. The opposition parties are moving under the rules...”
NCP’s Vandana Chavan said the rule that allows members to raise matters of national importance has not been “allowed even once”. “...Why is it in the rulebook, if it is not be allowed. Thousands of citizens are on the streets... The time given during motion of thanks is not enough.”
CPI’s KK Ragesh said MPs have not been able to raise the issue people were protesting over across the country. “People are agitating everywhere... but the government is not listening...”
BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said the Opposition has disregarded Naidu’s suggestion to raise the issues during the motion of thanks. “The chair said he has not accepted the notices, because there will be a 12-hour discussion on a motion of thanks to the president’s address and the opposition can keep their views forth during this discussion.’’
Constitutional law expert Subhash Kashyap said the presiding officer’s call under the rule is final. “As per House rules, this is the discretion of the presiding officer. If the House wants, it can change the rules, until then the chair is the final authority.”