Rahul Gandhi led the protest along with other Opposition MPs
New Delhi: The suspension of 12 MPs dominated proceedings in the Rajya Sabha soon after the House met in the morning as the Opposition members stormed into the Well demanding revoking of the suspension.
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the members to let the House function and said there could be no revocation as the suspended MPs had shown no remorse for their actions. The House was repeatedly adjourned in the course of the day before finally being adjourned till Thursday.
The Opposition’s protests against the suspension continued in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex. Congress’ Rahul Gandhi led the protest along with other Opposition MPs. Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge also wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman demanding that the suspensions be revoked. The Opposition parties have categorically ruled out any apology, on which the government is insistent. No business was transacted in the Upper House due to the ruckus and Zero Hour and Question Hour was also washed out.
The Lok Sabha did function on Wednesday, when it passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, which proposes the establishment of a national registry and registration authority for all clinics and medical professionals serving in the field. The Bill was earlier tabled in the Lok Sabha in September 2020 and referred to the standing committee.
Moving the ART Bill, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said several suggestions by the standing committee were considered in the new legislation.
Raising objections to the bill, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram called it discriminatory, saying it excluded those who couldn’t afford expensive procedures to have a child. He suggested the government consider supporting poor childless parents to take the help of ART. “The liberty of procreation and choice of family life are an intrinsic aspect of the fundamental right to privacy. Every individual who is mentally and physically fit to be a parent, and also financially fit, must be able to avail these technologies. You can’t discriminate against people by the lifestyle choices they make and deny them access to this technology. This law is also patriarchal,” he added.
Chidambaram suggested that the government consider including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBTQ) people under the ambit of the ART Bill. “This law does not take into account the new realities of India. Of course, these new realities are not new realities. These were there in our ancient scriptures. Those unions which were always there were suppressed by the colonial mentality. These unions must also be given access to this technology. The LGBTQ population, live-in couples, and single men must also have access to this technology if they want so,” Mr Chidambaram said.
Supporting the law, BJP member Heena Vijay Kumar Gavit said ART has remained unregulated in India for a long time. “When we talk of Assisted Reproductive Technology, it is a very complex procedure, and we need to have skilled manpower working in those Assisted Reproductive Technology clinics.”
Earlier, Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue of farmers, urging the government to waive off their loans, while B. Manickam Tagore raised the issue of Covid-19 deaths and sought compensation. Amorah MP Danish Ali also raised this matter.
In the Rajya Sabha, jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat moved the Dam Safety Bill for consideration.
The Opposition is now thinking of a “hybrid” protest strategy, in which they will register their protest and also corner the government on the floor of the House. In the coming days, the Opposition is likely to allow discussion on some pressing issues that it wants to discuss, but every day the chasm between the treasury benches and the Opposition is growing.