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Speaker says no to vote, Rising prices not government failure: Pranab
Published on 29 Jul. 2010 12:26 AM IST
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Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Wednesday disallowed an adjournment motion on the price rise, rejecting a demand by a united Opposition that was seeking a debate on the issue, followed by a vote to “censure” the government.
“An adjournment motion is admitted on the failure of the government to perform its duty enjoined by the constitution and the law…that is the not the case here,” Meira Kumar ruled after a nearly one-and-a-half hour debate on whether the rising prices could be discussed under an adjournment motion that entails voting.
“I have heard them (the Opposition MPs). I appreciate the concerns of honorable members. It is a matter of concern to the chair also… the house certainly needs to debate it but adjournment motion is not permissible,” Meira Kumar said, prompting noisy protests from Opposition members.
Amid a ruckus, the Speaker adjourned the house for the day.
The Speaker said she was allowing the members who had given her adjournment notices to speak under “special circumstances”.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was the first to justify her notice, saying “it was cent percent according to the house rules”.
“The adjournment motion that entails voting means stopping all other businesses and discussing an issue of urgent importance that has occurred recently. The notice I have given has raised has two points… recent hikes in (the prices of) kerosene and the cooking gas,” Swaraj said.
The June 26 fuel price hike has put poor men of the country into “grave hardships”, she said. “This needs urgent attention and calls for stalling all other business to be discussed on top priority.”
She said the Opposition wants to “censure” the government over its wrong pricing policies. “This is a censure motion. This is to censure the government… because they are troubling the common man.”
Intervening, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said he welcomed a discussion on the rising prices which, he said, was not a government failure.
Unless the central government “fails to discharge its duties enjoined by the constitution and the law”, the matter could not be discussed under the adjournment motion, Mukherjee, who is the leader of the house, maintained.
“My limited point is that I have some reservations about admitting this motion as an adjournment.”
Quoting rules, he said the issue to be discussed under the adjournment motion has “to be definite, and it must be related to the functioning of the government”.
He said the decision-makers were not taking any “sadistic pleasure” by hiking fuel prices. “There are certain compulsions. I had certain compulsions. Rates of crude oil in the international market have gone up. There has not been any failure of the government”.

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