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Rajya Sabha: Division vote not found

Voices are being curtailed of the few remaining oppositions who are against the party in power. Measures to curb democracy are being undertaken.

Chaos created during the passage of farm bills on Sunday | Source: Mirror Now

Today's day would be marked in history, as Rajya Sabha passed seven bills in less than three and a half hours. The opposition boycotted today’s proceedings as a mark of protest against the undemocratic decisions taken by the majority party. There might be a chance that people say today was the most productive session of Rajya Sabha amid this pandemic. But concerning the events that took place on Sunday, it is viable to say that the current party in power will take any measures to curb the opposition who still raise their concern about the actions of those in the power.

Our constitution states that the ruling government should be ‘OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE & FOR THE PEOPLE’, but the opposite seems to be the harsh reality these days. On Sunday, two of the three agriculture-related bills to liberalize the farm sector was passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. When the opposition wanted a division of vote, Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh denied the request and was in a hurry to pass the bill for the final ascent from the President to make it into an act or a law. Every member of the Rajya Sabha has the right to challenge the bill passed by the majority and when a division is asked the Deputy Chairman cannot ignore it. The proceedings should not depend on the disposition of the Chairman. A vote of no-confidence was also rejected by the chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

A total of three bills were passed by the Lok Sabha last week, namely Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. Amendments to the Essential Commodities Act were passed by the Rajya Sabha which created a ruckus in the Upper House of the parliament.

In any case, the protests and the outrageous behavior which includes tearing off the rule book and breaking the mic of the Chair by the opposition was not an acceptable move. It ruined the deliberative forum of the parliament creating chaos. But the opposition’s voice is being curtailed by the ruling government. Live footage of the Rajya Sabha was discontinued. This is not the first time this government has tried to shy away from democratic decisions. Recently, question hour was removed from the current monsoon session of the parliament. Without the consensus of the citizens of the J&K government, they even abrogated article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.

Many farmers especially belonging to the north-western part of India have gathered on the streets to protest against the farm bills. PM Modi had a visionary motive regarding this bill but the truth is the implementation of the bill is unrealistic and can create huge problems for small-time farmers. PM Modi, in his speech, said that it is a historical day for farmers but his government forgot to consider farmer’s opinions before making amendments to the act. An ordinance needs to be replaced by law within six weeks, this can overlook the fact that this won’t go to the Standing Committee of the parliament to perform scrutiny. The scrutiny allows the committee to talk to the affected sections. In this scenario, it would have been the farmers. If the division vote which was asked by the member' opposition parties such as TMC, CPIM, and others were allowed then the bills would have to go for scrutiny to the Select Committee where it would have become difficult for this government to pass such bills.

The state of democracy in our country is in danger. Day by day multiple events just cater to destroy democracy in India. It is a very scary situation to be in, where the voice of the people is curtailed to entertain the ruling party’s selfish moves.

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