NEW DELHI: The opposition in the Rajya Sabha hit out at the government on Wednesday, accusing it of not keeping its word on sending some bills including the triple talaq bill to the Select Committee, as suggested by them.
Raising the issue soon after Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had approached them to ask which bills they wanted to be sent to Select Committees.
Leaders of all parties wanted that at least six bills be sent to committees for further scrutiny, he said.
"I am drawing the attention of the chair. I am seeking your indulgence, we wanted that RTI bill to be sent to the Select Committee," he said.
"You are master, you tell your people to be present and we remain under the illusion that this bill is going to the Select Committee."
"This is not done. This is unfair on the part of the government," Azad said, while referring to the passage of the triple talaq bill on Tuesday.
He said the government had approached the opposition through the Parliamentary Minister and he wanted to know which bills were to be sent to Select Committees.
"We gave them a list of some 23 bills and we wanted at least half of them to be sent to Select Committees.
We identified as many as 6 bills as A-category to be sent to Select Committees, and two under B-category and the list was taken by the government," Azad said.
The Congress leader said the bill discussed on Tuesday was the first bill which was supposed to go to Select Committee.
The Bill, which is listed as number 2, was also slated to go to Select Committee, which the opposition had recommended.
"Unfortunately, that bill (triple talaq) was listed at night," he noted.
"My submission is that out of the six bills which we had given on priority to be sent to the Select Committee was the bill which was discussed on Tuesday and passed. We were in the dark we could not inform our members of Parliament. The second bill, which is being considered today for passage, is also on the priority list to be sent to the Select Committee.
"My submission to the government is that on one side you are seeking the list from the opposition for bills to be sent to the Select Committee and you don't come back and you put them for passage in the House and get them passed," the leader of opposition said.
He was supported by Derek O'Brien (TMC), who sought the protection of the chair, alleging that the government was pushing through legislations without scrutiny.
"We seek your protection because we managed to attend the meeting with the government and on that understanding, the government did tell us that they would revert to us on three to four bills on the seven we have listed. Monday night at 9. 30 PM, taking everyone by surprise (triple talaq bill was listed)."
"There is a rule and there is a convention whereby under understanding and after talking to us and find solutions for passage of bills. You don't do anything clandestinely at midnight to catch people by surprise," he said.
O'Brien said two bills - the triple talaq bill and the UAPA bill -- were on the top priority of the opposition for sending them to the Select Committee for further scrutiny.
"One got listed on Monday night and the second one was listed today. We seek your protection. Out of the 23 bills, even though we are not going to go back to what has been passed the last time, the opposition together had a list of six bills, four of which were marked as A-plus."
"We seek your protection. We want to examine these bills. If the government has the numbers it can pass the bills. But, let us fight for the integrity of Parliament. That is what we are asking for," the TMC leader said.
Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) also sought to know whether the minister is denying that he had told the opposition about bills being sent to select panels.
"The minister had stated that bills will be sent to Select Committee. Let the minister speak. If the minister is going back on his words, it is not right," Yadav said.
"I have heard it. I will look into it. You have raised the issue, then I will examine it," Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said.
Countering the opposition charge, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the chair has already said that eight out of 10 bills in last two years have been sent to the Select Committee.
"This shows the intention of the government. This bill UAPA was not sent to Select Committee during the UPA government. It is not like this that these bills will have to go to Select Committees," the minister said.
"We will take the opinion of the leader of the House and also the Parliamentary Affairs Minister," chairman Naidu said.
He also sought to intervene, saying he is trying to find a solution as members of the opposition and the government traded charges.