NEW DELHI: Former PM Manmohan Singh on Monday attacked the Modi government for not consulting the Rajya Sabha before scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories. The Rajya Sabha as the council of states should be given “greater respect by the executive”, and should have been consulted before taking “drastic measures”, Singh said, while criticising the government’s recent decisions regarding Kashmir.
Addressing the Upper House on the first day of its 250th session, Singh said it is “a very important duty” of the Rajya Sabha to “ensure that no law is passed in a moment of heightened emotion” — again a reference to the August 5 move to abrogate provisions of Article 370.
Singh advocated several measures to make the RS more effective, including that the House be allowed to discuss and deliberate important measures in greater depth. He suggested that the RS should find more time to debate Centre-state relations, state of the nation’s health and on the state of education.He said that Parliament should follow the practice for all Bills to be brought before the Upper House though Article 110 of the Constitution allows “precedence in money bills” to the Lok Sabha.
Criticising the government for misusing the provision and said, “We have seen misuse of money Bills leading to bypassing of the Rajya Sabha without any deliberation,” adding that Parliament should “ensure that such instances are avoided as this reduces the stature of the institution.” He said the RS has a central role to play in the form of “checks and balances to a majority government”.
Protests over Kashmir leaders’ detention in LS
The Lok Sabha witnessed uproar as the opposition protested over the detention of Kashmiri leaders. They demanded the release of NC chief Farooq Abdullah. As Speaker Om Birla invited TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas to pose the first question during Question Hour, slogan-eering erupte. Congress MPs came to the well of the House shouting slogans and were joined by DMK, NCP leaders. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry demanded the release of Abdullah and P Chidambaram.