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No Confidence Resolution against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman

  • 21 Sep 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Rajya Sabha members of 12 opposition parties moved a no-confidence resolution against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman over the passage of two controversial farm Bills by the voice vote.

Voice Vote

  • It involves the speaker putting a question to the house and then asking the house to put forward its opinion in the forms of ayes (yes) or noes.
  • Based on a rough measure of which side was louder, the speaker decides if the motion was passed or fell through.
  • The advantage of a voice vote is that it is quick.
  • The apparent disadvantage is that it is inaccurate, given that the speaker decides what the opinion of the house is based on which side is louder.

Key Points

  • Resolution:
    • The Deputy Chairman has violated all the canons of law, procedure, parliamentary procedures, practices and fair play. The Deputy Chairman did not allow points of order to be raised and did not allow large numbers of members of Rajya Sabha, from diverse political parties, to even speak against farm bills.
    • This no confidence resolution is for the removal of the Deputy Chairman. It is not the same as the No Confidence Motion specified in Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Lok Sabha, which can lead to the resignation of the Council of Ministers. Article 75 of the Constitution specifies that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of People.
    • Some Precedents: Earlier resolutions moved against the first Lok Sabha Speaker G V Mavalankar in 1951, Speaker Sardar Hukam Singh in 1966, and Speaker Balram Jakhar in 1987.
      • All of these resolutions were negated by the House.
  • Options with the Government:
    • Suspension of Opposition MPs : In a counter move, the government is likely to seek the suspension of Opposition MPs who were involved in the unruly scenes witnessed in the House.
      • The government can invoke Rule 256, which deals with the suspension of a member.
      • The final decision of suspension rests with the Chairman.
    • Privilege Motion: The ruling party can also move a privilege motion against some of the Opposition MPs.
      • A privilege motion is invoked when there is a breach of parliamentary privileges by a member.

Relevant Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business

  • Rule 256, Suspension of member: This is decided by the presiding officer of the house on the grounds like a member disregarding the authority of the Chair or abusing the rules of the Council.
  • Rule 258 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha makes a provision to enable a member to raise a point of order. It provides as follows:
    • Any member may at any time submit a point of order for the decision of the Chairman.
    • The Chairman’s decision shall be final in this regard.
  • Point of order:
    • A point of order is an objection to the pending matter or proceeding is in violation of a written and unwritten rule of the House.
  • Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
    • The Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha itself from amongst its members. The post of the Deputy Chairman is not subordinate to the Chairman.
    • In the Role of the Chairman:
      • The Deputy Chairman performs the duties of the Chairman’s office when it is vacant or when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President.
      • He also acts as the Chairman when the Chairman is absent from the sitting of the House.
        • In both cases, he has all the powers of the Chairman.
    • Like the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, while presiding over the House, cannot vote in the first instance; he can only exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie.
    • Removal: According to the Article 90 of the Constitution, the Deputy Chairman vacates his office in any of the following three cases:
      • If he ceases to be a member of the Rajya Sabha;
      • If he resigns by writing to the Chairman; and
      • If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Rajya Sabha. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.

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