Odisha Assembly waives 60 sittings a year rule amid Opp boycott

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 4:

The proceedings of the Odisha Assembly continued to remain disrupted for the thirteenth consecutive day today as the opposition remained adamant over its demand for reconsideration of the speaker’s ruling disallowing a discussion or even mention of chit fund issue in the House.

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The House today adopted the Odisha Open University Bill 2014 and approved the recommendation of the rules committee to reduce the statutory minimum requirement of 60 sittings of the Assembly in a calendar year. Both were adopted by voice vote in the absence of the opposition. After adoption of the bills, the speaker adjourned the House till tomorrow.

The Opposition cried foul saying the government was trying to shy away from inconvenient discussions by waiving the mandatpory requirement of 60 sittings in a year. “This is murder of democracy. The government wants to run the House as per its whims with its brute majority,” said Congress member Anshuman Mohanty, a member of the rules committee who made a dissenting note to the proposal.

Earlier in the day, speaker Niranjan Pujari had to adjourn the House till 11.30 AM after five minutes from the start of Question Hour as Congress members rushed to the well of the House urging him to reconsider his decision declining permission for a discussion on chit fund issue.

After the House reassembled at 11.30 AM, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra stood up on his seat and drew the attention of the House to an article published in a vernacular newspaper that questioned the role of the speaker.

Quoting from the article, Mishra said that the speaker should take action against the publisher of the particular newspaper as it has maligned the dignity of the chair. He spoke on the article for about 16 minutes.

Ruling party members who had hitherto remained silent and normalcy had returned to the House for a while started protesting as the Leader of the Opposition started quoting from the article. They said he should not do that as it affected the dignity of the House.

Ruling party member from Athagarh Ranendra Pratap Swain rose up from his seat and asked if the Leader of the Opposition has the courage to bring a privilege notice against the editor of the particular newspaper and the writer of the article.

At around 11.47 AM Congress members with banners in their hands rushed into the well of the House reiterating their demand for reconsideration of the ruling of the speaker restraining any debate or mention of the chit fund issue in the House which led to noisy scenes.

As the pandemonium continued in the House speaker Pujari reiterated his ruling on the chit fund issue and said that the earlier ruling issued by him in the matter was correct and justified to the last inch and he has not deviated from the rules and the law by an inch.

The speaker quoted rule 13A from the rules of procedure which prevents any debate on a matter which is being adjudicated in any court. He said a debate on the chit fund issue was not possible since the CBI has already filed chargesheets in some chit fund cases and will be filing some in the near future and hence it is sub judice.

Again on the issue of opposition demanding for a ruling on the issue of bills should be printed in Odia language which he has kept reserved, the speaker issued a ruling that by the end of the session members will be having a good ruling on the issue.

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