After a week-long washout, Lok Sabha transacted some business today as two bills were introduced and another taken up for consideration even as Congress and some other parties continued their vociferous protests, along with display of placards.
The House also saw parties coming together to condemn the attack in Gurdaspur in Punjab this morning and emphasising that all the force should be used against terrorism which still poses threat to the country.
Members of Akali Dal, BJP, CPI(M) and BJD spoke on the attack during the Zero Hour amidst the din created by members of Congress, NCP, Left, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, JD(U) and TRS over various issues.
Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge also wanted to speak then but was disallowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan as his colleagues were shouting slogans and displaying placards.
However, he spoke later, condemning the attack and alleging intelligence failure on part of the Centre.
While members of Congress, with black bands tied on their arms and holding placards, along with some other parties, were shouting slogans in the Well, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley re-introduced The Negotiable Instruments Bill, 2015, over which the government had brought ordinance last month.
The bill provides for trial in cheque bounce cases at the place where the cheque was presented for clearance and not the place of issue.
It had been promulgated as it could not be passed by Rajya Sabha during the last Budget session after being approved by Lok Sabha.
Law Minister Sadananda Gowda also introduced The Repealing and Amending (Fourth) Bill, 2015 providing for scrapping of 295 obsolete laws, including an 1898 Act which discriminates against lepers.
Three questions were also taken up amidst the din.
The House also took up discussion on The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which once implemented, would allow transferring civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, to the nine district courts in Delhi from the high court.
During the debate, a flutter was created when Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury banged a placard on the table of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who took a serious note of it and ordered him to withdraw from the House for rest of the day.
Earlier, she ‘named’ Chowdhury for action and BJP member Arjun Ram Meghwal moved a resolution demanding his suspension for rest of the session.
However, Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress, the rival of Congress party, pleaded with the Speaker not to be tough.
Mahajan said he had “insulted” the Chair and should apologise or face action as the issue relates to the “honour” of the House. BJP members supported her contention.
Chowdhury said he was offering “unqualified apology” for his behaviour. “What more do you want,” he asked the Speaker, who got further agitated, saying he was attaching “riders” with his apology. She asserted that she did not want his apology with such a tenor.
Subsequently, in a balancing act, she said Chowdhury should leave the House for rest of the day and asked Meghwal to withdraw his resolution, which he did.
Congress members, meanwhile, continued to vociferously demand ouster of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various controversies.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was seen playing an active role in guiding his party members in the protest.
Members from SP, RJD and JD(U) were demanding release of the census report, while TRS members were demanding a separate High Court for Telangana.
Prem Singh Chandumajra of Akali Dal, who hails from Punjab, raised the issue of the attack, in which four heavily armed terrorists went on a rampage this morning, targeting a bus and a police station complex, leaving a number of policemen and civilians dead and injured.
He urged the opposition members to halt their protest in view of the attack as it is in the national interest.
“I appeal to you, in the national interest, halt your protest for two minutes as there has been an attack in Gurdaspur,” he told the Congress members who were in the Well.
“This is a question of the country’s security. People are dying… People of the state are watching. They are watching this drama (in the House),” the Akali member said.
BJD member Tathagat Sathpathy said the incident in Gurdaspur was a “grave matter”, which shows that “once again terrorism is back with full force. It is not only display of ISIS flags, the threat of terrorism is perceptible here. The threat is right here in the country.”
He said all political parties should unite against the fight against terrorism.
“We are not here to politicise…Strictest action should be taken. All force should be used. India should stand up to fight terrorism,” the member from Odisha said.