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Scratch your memory, sir: Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar fumes after P Chidambaram challenges the Chair on Rajya Sabha rules

Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar told P Chidambaram, "First, you directly challenged the Chair and said - How can you do it?"

On Tuesday (July 25), Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar objected to the remarks made by Congress leader P Chidambaram with respect to the rules governing the proceedings of the Upper House.

The veteran Congress MP had accused Jagdeep Dhankhar of not admitting 50+ motions on Manipur violence under Rule 267 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States.

“Mr P Chidambaram raised this issue, with his own experience of having got into Parliament in mid 80s. I was a little surprised and stunned when he said ‘How can you do it?’ It came from a man of experience, who held senior positions in the Cabinet,” the Vice-President emphasised.

“How can the Chairman do it, he said. I will appeal to him to look into the rationale as to why I have done it. I am sure you will find a way out of it. But, such kind of extreme, intemperate, inappropriate expression for the Chair, emanating from such a senior member, surely is not wholesome,” he pointed out.

In his defence, P Chidambaram claimed that he did not challenge the authority of the Rajya Sabha Chairman. He asked, “You have rightly said that Rule 267 motion will take precedence over any other rule. Having said that, there are 51 fresh motions today. How can they be overruled by something that happened 3 days ago under Rule 176?”

The Congress MP then claimed, “You are contradicting yourself. How can you do that? Please look at the entire thing.” Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar intervened and said, “First, you directly challenged the Chair and said ‘How can you do it?’ This is number one (point).”

He added, “Sir, you were in governance for 10 years preceding this. Have you seen 50 motions earlier under Rule 267? Scratch your memory…On (the issue of) Manipur, I have already accepted the notice in accordance with Rule 176. The Minister has spontaneously agreed to a discussion.”

What do the Rules say?

The Rule 267 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, says, “Any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day and if the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being: Provided further that this rule shall not apply where specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules.”

Thus, Rule 267 deals with the suspension of other Rules of the House. On the contrary, Rule 176 states, “Any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General specifying clearly and precisely the matter to be raised: Provided that the notice shall be accompanied by an explanatory note stating reasons for raising discussion on the matter in question: Provided further that the notice shall be supported by the signatures of at least two other members.”

Thus, Rule 176 deals with short discussions, less than 2.5 hours long, on matter of urgent public importance.

Jagdeep Dhankhar tells AAP MP Sanjay Singh to ‘keep silence’

On Friday (July 21), Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar reprimanded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh for interrupting his address during the monsoon session of the Rajya Sabha.

“I give time to everyone in accordance with rules. This House is the upper House, the House of Elders. Our conduct is being watched by more than 1.3 billion people. We have to exemplify our conduct so that we can be appreciated,” he urged the members of the Rajya Sabha to maintain decorum.

At that point, the Vice-President was interrupted by Sanjay Singh, who claimed, “The whole country is seeing your conduct.” Jagdeep Dhankhar then directed the AAP leader to behave himself.

“Can you keep quiet for a moment? It has become your habit to rise and raise a point. I give time, every time,” he emphasised.

The Vice-President, who serves as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha told Sanjay Singh, “It is not a public street. It is not a platform. Keep your silence, please. No.”

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