Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Sunday issued a clarification on the reports of violation of rules during the passage of Farm Bills through voice vote last week.
An NDTV report based on the footage of the proceedings showed that on two accounts the official version of events does not quite match what can be seen on Rajya Sabha TV. More specifically, there are discrepancies when it comes to the statements made with regards the extension of timing of the house to ensure voting, and the presence of members on their seats during the call for division of votes.
Earlier, Indian Express had also reported the same with time stamps of the footage taken from Rajya Sabha TV.
Issuing a clarification, Harivansh said he wanted to place certain facts to put the records straight.
"The statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance and the amendment for the reference of the bill to select committee by KK Ragesh were negatived by voice vote by the house at 1:07 pm as Sri Ragesh was in the Well of the house and not on his seat on the gallery at that point of time. This can be seen from the video as after calling him to move his resolution and amendment, I looked at the gallery, but he was not there," a statement issued by him said.
"It is true that Tiruchi Shiva demanded a division on his amendment for reference of his bill to select committee from his seat at 1.10 p.m. You wil see from the same video that around 1:09 pm, one member was tearing the rule book and throwing on me. Besides I was surrounded by some hostile members, who were trying to snatch papers from me," he said.
"You will appreciate, that as per rules and practice, in order to have a division, two things are essential. Firstly, there should be a demand for division and equally important that there should be order in the House," he added.
"I hold a constitutional position and therefore, cannot issue a formal rebuttal. I am bringing these facts to your notice and leave it to your conscience for your judgment. I am also sending you a video footage of Rajya Sabha TV and a detailed incident report," the statement further said.
Last week, there had been uproar in the Parliament as the BJP-led government introduced several contentious Farm Bills that were eventually passed. Opposition members, objecting to the manner in which the farm bills were being passed, had stormed the well of the House and when their demand for voting wasn't met, they tore papers, climbed on tables, shouted slogans, and even threw the rule book at Harivansh, who was presiding at that time.
The next day, eight MPs who created a ruckus in the House were suspended by Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu.