New Delhi: A number of prominent politicians, including AAP MP Sanjay Singh, Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari, Friday took to social media to express their disappointment over “a new decree of the Parliament” to ban demonstrations, fasts or religious ceremonies within the precincts of the Rajya Sabha.
They were referring to an alleged circular issued by the Rajya Sabha Secretary General, P.C. Mody, Wednesday. “Members cannot use the precincts of the Parliament House for any demonstration, dharna, strike, fast, or for the purpose of performing any religious ceremony,” it read.
संसद का नया फ़रमान, सांसदों का है अपमान। pic.twitter.com/g4Le7xJqGO
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) July 15, 2022
While Singh called the circular “an insult to the MPs”, Congress General Secretary and chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh, termed it the “vishguru’s” (poisonous teacher) latest salvo”, a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement about making India a “vishwa guru”.
Vishguru's latest salvo — D(h)arna Mana Hai! pic.twitter.com/4tofIxXg7l
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 15, 2022
Tewari, meanwhile, said it was unfortunate and wondered why the presiding officers were setting the stage for confrontation with the members of Parliament. “First the word war & now this,” he added.
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) July 15, 2022
Several major news outlets also picked up the news and ran with headlines that said: ‘Parliament premises cannot be used for dharna, strikes, says RS new rule’, ‘Day after unparliamentary words row, new circular says ‘no dharnas in Parliament’ and ‘No dharnas, strikes in Parliament House, says new Rajya Sabha circular’. Most outlets seemed to be referring to the circular as “new” and the “latest” Rajya Sabha rule.
Most outlets seemed to be referring to the circular as “new” and the “latest” Rajya Sabha rule.
The order, however, is not a fresh one. In a Rajya Sabha Parliamentary bulletin dated 18 July 2001, ‘Rule No. 38969’ — under the category of ‘Demonstration, Dharna, Strike, fast etc. within precincts of the House’ — said “members cannot use the precincts of the House for any demonstration, dharna, strike, fast, or for the purpose of performing any religious ceremony”.
A similar directive was passed for the Lok Sabha in another bulletin dated 9 February 2022.
Reacting to the tweets, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said no such circular was ordered. “We have received a statement from the Parliament speaker that there is no such restriction. Leaders of all political parties will sit together tomorrow in Delhi and discuss,” he was quoted as saying in Nagpur.
This development comes a day after a row erupted over an updated list of words deemed ‘unparliamentary’ by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Several Opposition leaders had slammed the government and accused the BJP of ‘destroying India.’