Harivansh was elected as Deputy Chairman on August 9, 2018. He was conducting the proceedings of the house on Friday afternoon when the private members' business was taken up.
Holding the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha for the first time, the newly elected Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament – Harivansh showed the rulebook to the Narendra Modi-led government, leaving the opposition amused. Harivansh was elected as Deputy Chairman on August 9, 2018. He was conducting the proceedings of the house on Friday afternoon when the private members’ business was taken up.
After a thorough discussion on a private member resolution demanding a uniform reservation for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), moved by Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Social Justice and Empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot replied. Gehlot urged the members to withdraw the resolution. Speaking in Upper House, Gehlot said, “There is a process laid out by Parliament for inclusion and exclusion of caste in the list of SCs, STs and OBCs,” reported The Indian Express. The union minister further added that the recommendation for both inclusion and exclusion of a caste from the lists of SCs, STs and OBCs is to be sent by the states.
However, Samajwadi Party MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad was not satisfied with the ministers’ reply and demanded to vote. Harivansh, who was chairing the proceedings also agreed and directed that the lobbies be cleared for voting. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who was also present in the house told Deputy Chairman that voting is not taken in case of private member resolutions. Prasad also added that with the Deputy Chairman’s order, a new convention is being introduced in the house. The Law minister further told that voting is taken up for private member bill and not for private member resolutions.
After a war of words between the treasury (ruling) and Opposition benches, the Deputy Chairman said that norms and regulations of the house don’t allow him to take back his order and stop voting. However, the resolution was defeated by 66-32. Soon after the voting, the united opposition quickly attacked the government and called it anti-Dalit. The opposition parties said that the resolution sought to amend the prevailing rules in Constitutions so that a person belonging to SC/ST category in a state and get the equal benefit of reservation across the country.
Responding to the opposition’s allegations, the Union Law minister urged the members to stand with daughter and support the Triple Talaq bill. Members like Rakesh Sinha (Nominated) and D Raja (CPI) were among the leaders who participated in the discussion on the private member resolution.