NEW DELHI: Business in the Rajya Sabha collapsed today and the House was adjourned abruptly because of lack of quorum.
Against the requirement of minimum 25 members, 23 members were present in the House when discussion was underway on Private Members' Bill seeking to amend the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
As per the rules, at least 10 per cent members of the total strength of a House are required to be present for quorum. The sanctioned strength of the Rajya Sabha is 245.
As soon as Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary replied to the bill moved by Congress member K V P Ramachandra Rao and sought its withdrawal, TDP's C M Ramesh raised the issue of quorum that led to heated arguments among members.
Mohammad Ali Khan (Cong) said, "It is the responsibility of the Treasury Bench to ensure quorum. We are serious about the issue."
K Keshava Rao (TRS) said that quorum is required during the time of voting and not during the discussion of a bill.
V P Singh Badnore, who was in the Chair, said, "Any member can raise the quorum at any point of time."
He rang the quorum bell to call members to be present in the House.
Congress member Jesudasu Seelam said since the government has raised the quorum issue, arrival of members should be awaited.
At this, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "We have not raised. The issue was raised by a TDP member. We have given a detailed reply to the bill and asked the member to withdraw it."
As heated exchange over the quorum issue continued, E M Sudarsana Natchiappan (Cong) said a Private Member bill had thrice remained inconclusive earlier due to lack of quorum in the House. It was taken up next time.
"Let's take up this bill also next time and adjourn the House," he said.
Meanwhile some members entered the House, but the quorum was not complete and the Chair had to adjourn the House abruptly for the day at around 4.15 pm.
Before the adjournment, the Minister said the government has made "good progress" in last two years in implementing the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
The Centre has kept short and long term targets and a meeting has been scheduled on May 4 by Niti Aayog to review the progress made so far, the MoS for Home Affairs said.
"Good progress is being achieved. Whatever stated in the Act and promises made by the government, we are implementing them. Whatever our party and our Prime Minister has said, we are fulfilling. I request the member to withdraw the bill."
The Centre is competent to implement the provisions. A committee has been set up to review the progress.
"10 institutions have been made functional in the last two years. You say nothing has happened," the Minister said while sharing details of the funds released and progress of these institutions made so far.
When TRS leader Jesudasu Seelam asked about special status to Andhra Pradesh, he said the Finance Commission has made provision for tax incentives and sufficient central assistance to both the states.
Dissatisfied with the Minister's reply, some members rose on their feet to ask more details from the government. It was then Ramesh said: "If you are serious about the subject, your members should be present. There is no quorum."