New Delhi: After the Winter session last year which was washed away over the 2G scam issue, the Monsoon session of Parliament that concluded on Thursday was the second most tumultuous session during the current Lok Sabha.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw frequent disruptions with at least half of the 26 sittings getting paralysed over a range of issues from Anna Hazare to Gujarat Lokayukta and cash-for-vote scam.

Despite the government having a heavy agenda with 30 odd bills, frequent disruptions and forced adjournments ensured passage of only 14 bills in Lok Sabha and just nine in the Rajya Sabha.

While adjourning the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha sine die, Speaker Meira Kumar and Chairman Hamid Ansari lamented the loss due to frequent interruptions.

"Regrettably, we lost over 51 hours and six minutes due to interruptions followed by forced adjournments," Kumar said noting that the session had 26 sittings spread over 104 hours and three minutes.

She frowned upon the repeated demands for suspension of Question Hour leading to its disruption.

"I hope in future the House will not allow suspension or disruption of the Question Hour since it is irretrievable," she said. Expressing indignation over the frequent disruptions, Ansari said, "It being the Monsoon session, (the House) has lived up to its appellation with stormy proceedings. Many
matters of public importance remained unattended.

"This is a sad commentary on the right and duty of the members who participate meaningfully in the proceedings of the House. It calls for introspection."

The Upper House, however, created history by adopting a motion for removal of Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen on charges of misappropriation of funds.

Another hallmark of the six-week long session was the discussion on the issue of the Lokpal Bill after which the two Houses conveyed "sense of the House" on the issue that facilitated end of the 12-day long fast of Anna Hazare.

180 MPs participated in Lokpal Bill discussions

Around 180 MPs have participated in discussions on the controversial Lokpal Bill in Monsoon Session of Parliament which concluded today, according to a think-tank.

According to PRS Legislative Research, the discussion on Lokpal Bill which stretched for nearly nine hours topped the list of issues which got the maximum time for deliberations in Lok Sabha.

The Lokpal discussion spanned 8hours 52 minutes hours in Lok Sabha and saw participation of 123 MPs across party lines. While 22 MPs spoke on the floor of the House, the remaining 101 laid their written speech on the table, it said.

In Rajya Sabha, it said, the discussion lasted for over seven hours and saw participation from 25 MPs.

The number of MPs does not include ministers who spoke during the debate held on August 27.

The discussion on Prime Minister's statement on Lokpal and events that took place on August 16 when Anna Hazare was arrested saw the participation of 29 MPs in Lok Sabha and lasted 5 hours 46 minutes.

"The Monsoon Session saw several uncommon events – a gesture by the Lok Sabha to Anna Hazare, a discussion on the issues raised by Anna Hazare on the Lok Pal Bill and the impeachment motion against Justice Soumitra Sen in Rajya Sabha.

"However, in performance terms, the house fell significantly short of its initial plan. Proceedings were marred by disruptions – first on the issue of corruption and the detention of Anna Hazare, and later on the appointment of the Gujarat Lokayukta," the PRS analysis said.

Another prominent debating issue was widespread corruption in the country which saw 50 MPs in Lok Sabha participating in a discussion which stretched to over six hours while inflation saw 37 MPs taking 6 hours and 18 minutes of the Lower House.

This session, Lok Sabha had been scheduled to work for 156 hours and Rajya Sabha for 130 hours.  However, the actual productive time was 104 hours in Lok Sabha and 81 hours in Rajya Sabha, the PRS analysis claimed.

According to the PRS, only a few bills were taken up for discussion and both Houses fell short of targets on legislation.

The initial plan had listed 34 bills for introduction and 37 bills for consideration and passing. However, it said, only 13 bills were introduced and 10 bills were passed.

Standing Committee reports on nine bills were also tabled this session. However, it said, none of these bills could be taken up for discussion.

The analysis also noted that the Question Hour was often disrupted and "60 per cent of the scheduled time was lost to disruptions".
"The Question Hour had initially been planned for 26 hours in both Houses. However, deliberations were often disrupted, initially due to protests over the issue of corruption and the detention of Anna Hazare, and later on the appointment of the Gujarat Lokayukta," it said.

Of the 520 starred questions planned in Lok Sabha, only 50 could be answered orally, it said adding a similar pattern was seen in Rajya Sabha where out of the 520 planned questions, only 64 were given oral replies.

Overall, it said the Lok Sabha worked for 67 per cent of the scheduled time and Rajya Sabha for 62 per cent.

Blame, counter blame for wasting parliament hours


Congress and BJP locked in a blame-game accusing each other of not allowing Parliament to function smoothly as a result of which many important issues including Bills could not be taken up during the monsoon
session.

"It is very unfortunate. BJP and other political parties did not allow Parliament to function. So many issues could have been discussed in Parliament but we could not do so," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.

Alvi said "There were many issues. It has happened in the last session and it also happened in the current session. Many bills and important issues could not be taken up due to disruptions in Parliament.

"I am sure BJP will realise one day that they did not do the right thing by disrupting Parliament," the Congress MP said.

Making a counter-attack, BJP said the basic responsibility lies with the government to ensure smooth functioning of the House. "It all depends on the ruling parties. The basic responsibility lies with the government to run the House in a proper manner. If the government did not cooperate and if the ruling party members themselves come to the well of the House and if they do not allow the opposition to speak, then what will happen"? said BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu.

"When Advaniji has given notice for the suspension of the Question Hour and the Speaker gave him permission the ruling party members did not let him speak," Naidu said.

Accusing Congress of wasting parliament's time, he said "this is the mindset of the ruling party. We also feel sorry and we also want the House to function smoothly. We could not discuss agrarian crisis. The ruling party is not serious in running the House in a proper manner."

(Agencies)