New Delhi: In a proactive and purposeful move, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar today announced the complete adjournment of the sittings of the Lower House for the entirety of its winter session, scheduled to begin from 9 November and run till 13 December. ‘We are not cancelling the winter session,’ Meira Kumar clarified. ‘We have merely decided to just do away with the sittings. It’s not adjourned sine die. It’s adjourned between 9 November and 13 December.’
Describing the move as the most practical one, the Lok Sabha Speaker pointed out that the decision was taken in the face of repeated complaints that Parliament sessions have become a farce with routine walkouts, pandemonium and endless adjournments. ‘This winter session, I promise you, there won’t be any room for such cribbing. The errant MPs just wont have any chance to stage a walkout even once or create ruckus,’ the Speaker said, giving an insight into the rationale behind the far-reaching plan. ‘We won’t be having any tamasha from Laloo Prasad. But that is a small price to pay for the bigger gain of keeping the Left and Sena in mute mode’.
The fact that the session is, in its entirety, adjourned doesn’t mean that the MPs will not be eligible for the various allowances and perks. ‘The Constitution doesn’t permit that,’ Meira Kumar, who is a stickler for the rules laid down in the statute, asserted.
Asked whether it’s morally tenable to get allowance when technically no work will be transacted, Meira Kumar shot back: ‘What makes you to think that some work is actually transacted when the House is in full sitting’.
Meira Kumar explained that the founding fathers were not against claiming allowances and perks even when no practical purpose was served. ‘If they had harboured any such ideas or thoughts, I don’t think the Rajya Sabha would have been constituted at all in the first place,’ she reasoned with utmost logicality.
‘If the cricketers can get paid their full match fee, as they did even after the entire match was rained off at Kochi, why can’t the MPs enjoy the same privilege?’ the Speaker asked and added ‘if need be, we may even replace the Indian Constitution with the ICC rules in this matter’.
On the question of whether the Rajya Sabha will also be adjourned for the whole of winter session, Meira Kumar remarked that Rajya Sabha, being the Upper House, may go the whole hog, and be adjourned for as long as it wants to. ‘What difference does it make?’ she wondered.
‘We require a Constitutional amendment in this regard. But since the sessions will be increasingly adjourned in the future too, we need to debate whether MPs can individually amend the Constitution at their homes,’ the Speaker added.
Following Meira Kumar’s official announcement of adjournment of the entirety of the winter session, Constitutional experts of the government went into a huddle as to how the Lok Sabha will be adjourned sine die after the session. ‘How do you adjourn a session which is already in adjournment,’ is the general gist of the debate among the various constitutional voices in the country.
However, a source in the Law Ministry pointed out that there are enough precedents around in other countries. ‘For instance, the neighbouring Pakistan has managed to have MPs even during the times when no elections were held. If a troubled nation like Pakistan can pull off that, it’s not an impossibility for an evolved democracy like India to adjourn a House that has is already in adjournment,’ said the source.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated political development, the Shiv Sena today clarified that Muslims need not fret over their (Sena’s) demand for a ban on Burka. ‘The media have, as usual, distorted our views. We are only seeking a ban what has been so far been a symbol of confusion and controversy,’ a Shiv Sena spokesperson said and added ‘our only mistake may have been that we simply said ‘ban Burka’ rather than say with clarity ‘ban Burka Dutt’.
The Shiv Sena also said that once it was successful with the ‘Ban Barka Dutt campaign’, it intended to take up a similar andholan titled, ‘Arnab, please Go (away) Swamy’.
In a related and interesting development, a nondescript Muslim organisation from Lucknow endorsed the demand for a ban on Burka Dutt.
‘For a person who has covered much of her name itself with Burka, she is too visible,’ said the Muslim organisation. ‘The whole purpose of Burka is defeated in her case’.
(Disclaimer: We hope the Freedom of Expression clause will save us).