Chaotic session over, parliament adjourned sine die

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Parliament was adjourned sine die Thursday, five days ahead of schedule, after a budget session during which disorder reigned supreme and crucial debates could not be held due to abrupt adjournments and constant interruptions.

Although both houses of parliament were scheduled to be adjourned on May 22, disruptions over various issues led to its early adjournment.

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Parliament met on April 26, after a month long recess, passed the union budget without a debate and the finance bill after discussing demands for grants of some ministries.

According to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, as many as 32 sittings spread over 119 hours were held during the budget session of which 17 sittings were held in the first part.

But he added: “In this session we lost over 73 hours of time due to interruptions and forced adjournments.”

“In spite of earnest request, some of the very legislative and financial business before the house had to be completed without discussion,” he pointed out.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) disrupted the proceedings on several days over various issues, including over a proposed canal project in Sethusamudram off the Tamil Nadu coast saying it would hurt Hindu sentiments as it would damage the “ancient bridge” built by Lord Rama to link India and Sri Lanka as described in the epic Ramayana.

The budget session had been tumultuous since it began Feb 23 with opposition BJP disrupting proceedings in both houses over the extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was arrested and released on bail in Argentina, for his role in the 1980s Bofors gun purchase scam.

The police killing of 14 people, who were protesting against land acquisition for Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in West Bengal’s Nandigram, had led to repeated adjournments in the pre-recess session.

While the BJP blamed the government for early adjournment, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) criticised the opposition’s “tactics of disrupting the procedures” for it.

However, Chatterjee reminded the members: “While conceding a member’s right to ventilate his views on any particular issue, I would like to reiterate that there is no better alternative or substitute other than a structured discussion on the floor of the house within the parameters of rules of procedure.”