Sunday, August 22, 2010

Medical bill passed in Parliament amid acrimony

As over 100 school students watched from the visitors gallery, Lok Sabha plunged into complete turmoil with Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal disrupting proceedings with their demand for a higher raise in salaries for parliamentarians. Amid the din, a bill to amend the Medical Council of India Act was passed by a voice vote, triggering angry protests by Bharatiya Janata Party which wanted a debate on the legislation. The House passed the Medical Council of India (MCI) as well as amendments to the Trade Marks bill within five minutes, as Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal MPs stormed into the well of the House shouting slogans against the low hike. They said it was an insult to Parliament.

After deputy speaker Karia Munda adjourned the House for the day, agitated Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena members sat on a dharna in the well of the House, shouted slogans and threw torn copies of the MCI bill. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirti Azad was seen shouting, "is this democracy?" as he tore a copy of the bill.
Bharatiya Janata Party members were heard saying that they will continue to sit in the well of the House till Saturday morning.

As the protests continued in the House, Lok Sabha staff asked the media, by then the only spectators of the agitation, to leave the press gallery as the House had adjourned for the day. Later, the Left too joined the protests against passage of the MCI bill without any debate.

Earlier in the day, the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal led by their leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad created a ruckus forcing two adjournments. While business remained almost paralysed in both Houses on Friday, Parliament is sitting on Saturday to make up for the lost time. The government has conveyed to political parties that the session could be extended beyond August 28 if pending business is not completed. Major legislative business includes the nuclear liability bill and the MPs salaries and allowances bill.

Source: The Economic Times, August 21, 2010

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