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Lok Sabha proceedings disrupted amid opposition protests

Lok Sabha proceedings disrupted amid opposition protests
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New Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) Lok Sabha on Tuesday sent two bills, including the proposed law to increase the minimum age of marriage for women to 21 years from 18, to standing committees amid continuous protests by opposition parties over a number of issues which marred its proceedings and cut it short.

The House also sent the bill to amend the Chartered Accountants Act, the Cost and Works Accountants Act and the Company Secretaries Act to the departmental standing committee.

Amid a din, Union minister Smriti Irani introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021 that seeks to increase the legal minimum age for women to marry to 21 years, bringing it at par with that of men.

Irani said the bill also seeks to override all existing laws, including any custom, usage or practice governing the parties in relation to marriage.

Various opposition parties had demanded that the bill be sent to the parliamentary panel for detailed scrutiny, a demand to which the government agreed.

However, continuous protests from opposition members ensured that the proceedings were conducted amid ruckus before the House was adjourned soon after it approved the decision to send the bills to respective standing committees.

Soon after the House assembled for the day, opposition members from different political parties, including the Congress, DMK and the TMC, stormed into the Well and began protesting, displaying placards.

While some of the opposition members were demanding sacking of Union Minister for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra as his son Ashish Mishra is one of the accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, the Shiv Sena was demanding action in the matter pertaining to the alleged insult to Chhatrapati Shivaji in Karnataka.

Carrying placards, DMK members were demanding that Tamil Nadu be exempted from NEET exam, conducted for admissions to medical and dental colleges.

Amid the din, the House took up several questions during the Question Hour.

While replying to a question of a BJP member, Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh hit out at the Opposition members, alleging that they have lowered the dignity of the House with their protests.

He appreciated Speaker Om Birla for his patience in running the proceedings of the House amid the Opposition protests.

“I want to thank you (Speaker) for your patience. The Opposition has lowered the dignity of the House. Those who talk about democracy after going out (of the House), they are undermining democracy here,” he said.

Amid the protests, the Speaker announced the launch of a mobile application for members and asked them to download it on their devices to see live telecast of Parliament proceedings, view parliamentary papers, written questions-answers, bulletins and other important documents.

Birla also asked them to encourage people of their respective constituencies to download the mobile application as well “so that you can show your conduct” to them.

“This will be very useful for you. It is my request to you that you also make people download this app in your respective constituencies so that you can show your conduct to people,” he said.

The speaker repeatedly urged the protesting Opposition members to go back to their respective seats and let the House function properly, saying “I am requesting you for the last day (antim din)”.

“I have a lot of expectations from you for running the House proceedings. You should make efforts to ensure that the House functions. Maintain the decorum of the House. On every issue, whatever issue you want to raise, I will give adequate time and opportunity,” he said.

“Go back to your seats, raise all the questions and issues pertaining to your respective constituencies. If you want I will run the House…. We should try to see how we can maintain the dignity of the House and fulfil people’s expectations and aspirations,” he added.

He adjourned the proceedings of the House till 2 pm as the Opposition refused to relent.

As the House reassembled at 2 pm, the Opposition continued their protests and the proceedings were adjourned for the day after the bills were sent to standing committees.


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