Both the government and the opposition have leveled allegations of violation of an agreement reached with the Speaker regarding the conduct of the business of the House.
It would be fair to argue that Parliament should have taken up discussion on the Delhi riots right away, given that 53 people have died while hundreds have been injured, and thousands have been rendered homeless. But, the conduct of the opposition parliamentarians in demanding the discussion was nothing short of shameful. Seven Congress members have been suspended from the Lok Sabha for the rest of the Budget session, and a committee to decide on the penalty to be imposed on these members has been set up.
Speaker Om Birla, who has refused to chair House proceedings so far, heads the committee. While some may argue that Birla occupies a constitutional post and shouldn’t refuse to perform his constitutionally-mandated role, the fact is that opposition MPs threw leaflets and paper-balls at the chair he occupies, and snatched papers from the Speaker’s table, assaulting the dignity of the post.
Both the government and the opposition have leveled allegations of violation of an agreement reached with the Speaker regarding the conduct of the business of the House. While the ruling party said that the Congress lawmakers violated the condition that MPs shouldn’t enter the well of the House, and protesting members shouldn’t “enter” the “space of the other”, the Congress has said that the government passed crucial legislation despite it being agreed with the Speaker that no legislation will be passed amidst any din in the House.
The Speaker making it clear that no discussion on the riots will happen till after Holi doesn’t make for good optics, but the opposition MPs using disruption as a tool to stall other business of the House doesn’t either. The Congress could have chosen a raft of the other methods, including demonstrations outside Parliament or a media campaign focusing on skewed priorities. The manner in which the Congress MPs behaved plays into the narrative about the Opposition being merely anti-BJP, even though the Delhi riots are an urgent matter for the Indian democracy to address.