NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha has turned down a request by MPs to allow virtual meetings for the Department Related Standing Committee — the first one post lockdown scheduled on July 10 — saying that quorum is necessary only for taking decisions and adopting reports by the committees and not for taking up a general discussion on identified issues.
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, had on Tuesday written to RS Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, saying he was doubtful if there would be quorum — the minimum number of members required to be present at a sitting of the House or a Committee for valid transaction of its business.
During a meeting with Naidu, Rajya Sabha officials pointed out that committees have been meeting without the quorum for years.
Eight Department Related Standing Committees of the RS have held 281 meetings during the last three years, of which 16 per cent were without quorum.
Reacting to the decision, Ramesh said, “A silly and bogus argument. Point isn’t about quorum alone. It’s about facilitating those MPs who want to attend and are unable to because of the containment zone, quarantine restrictions in their home states.”
Meanwhile, Naidu discussed seating arrangement and participation of members in the House proceedings during the ensuing monsoon session.