Embarrassment for government in Rajya Sabha

December 13th, 2011 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) It was an embarrassing day for the government in Rajya Sabha Tuesday as it faced heat over two bills in the upper house.

While the bill for a commercial division of the high courts was deferred, the copyrights amendment act could not even be introduced as the opposition claimed there was a conflict of interest and did not allow Communication Minister Kapil Sibal to introduce the bill.

A ruckus by opposition members protesting against Sibal forced the house to be adjourned twice, even though the day saw peaceful proceedings.

The scenes started as soon as Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan called for the bill to be tabled. Janata Dal-United member Shivanand Tiwari raised a point of order, stating that Sibal had a conflict of interest and should not present the bill as his son was fighting a case for music company, T-Series.

Tiwari raised an objection under Rule 294, which says any member with a direct or indirect interest should declare conflict of interest before participating in any related debate.

Opposition members, including from the Left, Bharatiya Janata Party, AIADMK, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other parties backed Tiwari.

Attempts from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal failed to convince the opposition, and he was not given an opportunity to speak.

“The minister’s son is independent,” Bansal said pointing out that conflict of interest was limited to spouse and dependents.

However, with opposition members refusing to calm down, Khan adjourned the house for 15 minutes and later for the day.

Earlier, Law Minister Salman Khurshid had to defer a bill which proposed commercial division of high courts to expedite execution of cases of high commercial value.

As opposition members alleged it provides for speedy justice to the rich at the cost of the poor, conceding to deficiencies in the bill, Khurshid said the bill could wait and asked the chair to defer it. The minister said that government will amend the bill and come back to the house in the coming week.

“We respect the sense of the house, and if the house is not ready, we will amend it and come back, maybe next week, with the bill,” he said.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the bill was “completely misconceived and badly drafted”.

“You are now transferring all commercial cases to the slowest one of the costliest layers of judiciary, which takes 10 years to dispose one case and 35 percent positions are lying vacant,” Jaitley said.

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