Fuel price hike: Both houses of Parliament adjourned till afternoon after Opposition ruckus

During the Question Hour, Opposition members, mainly from the Congress, entered the Well and started raising slogans.

Published: 09th March 2021 12:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2021 12:00 PM   |  A+A-

Representational Image. (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha was adjourned until noon on Tuesday after Opposition members disrupted the House proceedings over the issue of rising fuel prices.

During the Question Hour, Opposition members, mainly from the Congress, entered the Well and started raising slogans.

They demanded a rollback of the fuel price hikes.

Speaker Om Birla then adjourned the House till 12 noon.

This follows the similar incident on Monday where the house was adjourned after Opposition members continued their protest over rising fuel prices on Monday.

When the House reconvened at 7 pm after an adjournment, the Chair allowed discussion on the issue of women empowerment on the occasion of International Women's Day.

The discussion continued for about 20 minutes amidst continued protest by Opposition members.

Rama Devi of the BJP who was on the Chair appealed to the protesting members several times to let the House function so that women members can raise their issues on International Women's Day.

However, the Opposition did not yield prompting the chair to adjourn the House for the day to meet on Tuesday 11 am.

Earlier, the House was adjourned twice.

Rajya Sabha proceedings were on Tuesday adjourned for about 40 minutes after opposition parties led by the Congress insisted on a discussion on record high petrol and diesel prices.

Opposition MPs, who had stalled proceedings in the House on the opening day of the second part of the Budget session on Monday, trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans, forcing the chair to adjourn the proceedings till noon.

Soon after the listed official papers were laid on the table, MPs from the opposition Congress, DMK, Left, BSP and Shiv Sena were on their feet seeking setting aside of the business to take up a discussion on the increase in petrol and diesel prices.

Deputy Chairman Shri Harivansh, who was presiding, said notices under rule 267 have been received from Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, DMK's Trucchi Siva and Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi.

But the Rajya Sabha chairman had already given his ruling, rejecting the notices under rule 267, and so his decision cannot be reopened, he said.

The issue of fuel prices, he said, can be discussed during the discussion on the working of ministries and finance bill as well as in the short duration discussion sought on the issue.

But Opposition members persisted with their demand and soon gathered in the the well of the House, raising slogans against the government.

Harivansh asked the members to return to their seats and allow zero hour to be taken up where MPs raise issues of public importance.

He then went on to call members who had given zero-hour notice.

But the slogan shouting by opposition continued.

Siva said the issue of relentless rise in petrol and diesel prices has to be discussed.

Bhupendra Yadav of BJP countered him saying the ruling of the chairman is final and cannot be reopened.

Harivansh urged members to return to their places, insisting that the ruling of the chairman who had rejected rule 267 notices seeking suspension of business to take up discussion on fuel prices cannot be reopened or discussed.

With the ruckus continuing, he adjourned the proceedings till 12 noon.

The price of petrol has for the first time crossed the Rs 100 mark in a few places in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and is at record highs elsewhere.

Diesel rates, too, are at a record high as international oil prices bounced back from the lows of last year.

The upper house saw repeated adjournments yesterday too as the Opposition continued protests inside the House.

Rajya Sabha witnessed four adjournments -- first around 10.05 am till 11 am and again till 1 pm and then two quick adjournments of 15 minutes each -- before it was adjourned for the day.

The House was meeting for five hours from 9 AM to 2 PM since the first part of the Budget Session that started on January 31.

Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge gave a notice for suspension of business for Monday and demanded a discussion on the "huge and frequent" rise in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG even when global prices were "low".

The Chairman disallowed the discussion, saying the issue can be discussed during the course of discussion on the Appropriation Bill, but asked Kharge to mention the subject of his notice considering his seniority.

Kharge said price of petrol was touching Rs 100 and diesel Rs 80 per litre, while LPG rates have increased and prices of petroleum products have gone up.

He claimed that that there has been nearly 820 per cent increase in the prices of petrol and around 258 per cent in excise duty after 2014.

He said the central government has made a "profit" of Rs 21 lakh crore in the last six years from tax and cess on petroleum products.

Describing it as a "burning subject", he said people are agitating across the country.

"That's why we are requesting you to suspend all the rules under Rule 267 and give us a chance to speak on this subject. Ultimately, what is the government going to tell about this," he said.

When the Chairman asked him to stop raising the issue and take up the Question Hour, the Opposition members began shouting slogans demanding a debate.

Naidu kept asking members to return to their seats and not deprive members of Question Hour, but the Opposition members were relentless in their demand and kept on shouting.

"If you don't want the Question Hour to continue, if you want to deprive people of Question Hour, I can adjourn the House. Please go to your seat. 'Loktantra ka mazak nahi karna hai'," the chairman said.

As members continued to shout, he adjourned the House till 11 am.

When the House re-assembled at 11 am, Congress members again raised their demand forcing another adjournment till 1 PM.

When the House met again, Congress members asked about the fate of their demand and Vandana Chavan, who was in the chair, adjourned the House twice for 15 minutes each at 1 PM and 1.15 PM.

When the House met again at 1.30 pm, Chavan said Rajya Sabha shall resume normal working hours from Tuesday, March 9.

"This is a happy news for all the members. On the request received from many members from various parties, the Chairman has decided that from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the sitting of Rajya Sabha will commence from 11 am up to 6 pm, as per usual timings of the House.

"The Members will be seated in Rajya Sabha Chamber and Galleries only, with some distancing," she said.

She then adjourned the House for the day.

The day's proceedings started with new members Biswajit Daimary (Assam), Dineshchandra Jemalbhai Anavadiya (Gujarat) and Rambhai Harjibhai Mokariya (Gujarat) taking oath.

Obituary references were made to former members of the house Vidya Sagar Nishad, M Rama Jois and Satish Sharma, who died during the intervening period of the budget session.

In his introductory remarks of the resumed Budget Session, the Chairman complimented Mallikarjun Kharge on becoming the Leader of Opposition and expressed confidence that his vast and diverse experience will benefit the House significantly.

Naidu said members should make it a point to be present in the House to enhance understanding of parliamentary procedures and also use the library facility.

Naidu said he has been told that some members do not attend the proceedings even when they are in the national capital.

"I am told they are in Delhi but they are not present in the House," he also said, while clarifying that he was not referring to any particular member or any party.

"I appeal to all the members, please make it a point to be in the House and then observe debates, enrich your knowledge," he said.


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