Parliament roundup: From Sonia-Rahul walkout in Lok Sabha to TMC protests in Rajya Sabha

Tuesday's Budget Session in the Parliament started out peacefully. Grants for Ministry of civil aviation and Ministry of Housing in the Lok Sabha and workings of the Health and HRD ministries, among others, were a few things to be discussed in the Parliament on Tuesday. From TMC members staging a walkout to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's statement on the Italian Marines case, here's what has happened in the Parliament so far:

Trinamool Congress walks out of Rajya Sabha

A day after its leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy was asked to withdraw from Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress on Tuesday walked out of the House questioning why no action was taken against 33 Congress members who were named for "gross disorderly conduct" for protesting in the Well.

Raising the issue when the House met for the day, Derek O'Brien (TMC) said rule 255 was invoked by the Chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday, which his colleague Roy complied with.

"We have no issue with that," he said, adding Roy had at no point left his seat and was raising an issue from there. He then went on to read the Rajya Bulletin of Monday which named 33 Congress members for "gross disorderly conduct in violation of rules and etiquette of Rajya Sabha."

"The members "entered the 'Well' of the House, shouted slogans and presistently and willfully obstructed the proceedings of the House", forcing the Chair to repeatedly adjourn the House, the Bulletin said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said one member was making a point from his seat, whereas 33 members were in Well. The TMC leader sought a ruling from the Chair if action against one member and sparing 33 others "violates Article 14 of the Constitution."

Article 14 provides for right to equality before law.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the ruling was given by the Chairman and he cannot say anything on it. "Ruling of Chairman cannot be questioned, ruling of the Chair cannot be discussed," he said.

Derek O'Brien said "we are saddened... and are walking out of Rajya Sabha." The TMC and CPM were  mum about the VVIP chopper until the BJP questioned their silence. The TMC even sent a notice to the Rajya Sabha on Monday, seeking a discussion on the AgustaWestland scam.

While the VVIP chopper scam has been haunting the Congress, the party vice-president on Tuesday told reporters that he was always targeted and he was happy. "

Pension for jawaans

Rajya Sabha member from BJD, AU Singh Deo raised the issue of pension for jawaans in the Armed Forces. The law says that Jawaans are eligible for pensions after they complete 15 years of service, as opposed to Members of Parliament, who are eligible for pension just after 2-3 years into service.

Deo's thoughts were echoed by Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien, who posed a question to the Upper House and asked, "MPs are getting pension after completing 2-3 years. A jawaan, working for 14 years and 364 days, is not getting pension. Is it fair?" He also asked minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to convey this to the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Italian Marines

Government on Tuesday asserted in Lok Sabha that the United Nations arbitration tribunal's order allowing a murder-accused Italian marine to return home from India pending its proceedings has "affirmed" the Supreme Court's authority and not questioned it.

Making a statement, Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Finance Arun Jaitley said the tribunal has confirmed Italy's obligation to return Sergeant Salvatore Girone to India in case India's jurisdiction over him is established.

The tribunal has also left it to the Supreme Court to fix precise conditions of his bail, he said amid unhappiness expressed by Congress over the way the case is being handled by the government.

"We see the tribunal's order not just as a recognition of India's consistent positions and key arguments but also as an affirmation of the authority of the Supreme Court of India," said Jaitley, speaking on behalf of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is unwell.

Congress members, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, staged a walkout, expressing unhappiness after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan did not allow them to ask questions.

Their protests invited criticism from Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who accused Congress of doing so because of the Assembly polls in Kerala as media would cover it even though the Speaker has expunged their remarks. "It's match-fixing," he said.

The two Italian marines are accused of killing two fishermen of Kerala four years back.

Jaitley said the issue of jurisdiction, which is "at the heart" of the case, is yet to be even argued before the tribunal and the "limited relief" given on humanitarian considerations has been made contingent to the clear cut undertakings provided by Italy that Girone will return to India in case its jurisdiction is established.

"The tribunal noted that while Italy had earlier made a far-reaching request that, if granted, would have removed Sergeant Girone entirely from the reach of India's legal system. This time Italy was only requesting India to relax the bail conditions to enable him to return to Italy.

"In doing so, Italy was prepared to accept that he remained under the jurisdiction of the courts if India. In essence, they proposed to change the physical location of Sergeant Girone's bail without prejudice to the authority of India's courts," he said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 03, 2016 20:34 PM

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