House cannot be run by rules alone but by political consensus: PJ Kurien

After the logjam in Rajya Sabha was broken at an all-party meet, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on Friday said the House cannot be run on rules alone (rpt) alone but by political consensus and asked members to adopt self restraint and not cross the benchmarks or break their oath.

“It is not rules, it is actually the self restraint of members, responsibility of members. You cannot run the House by rules only. The House is run by political consensus and self restraint of the members and your adherence to democratic norms,” he told reporters after the all-party meeting convened by Chairman Hamid Ansari.

He lauded the Chairman’s initiative of convening the all-party meeting to end the logjam and said the step has came at an “appropriate time” as there are three more days left and members agreed to pass six bills and dispose of three more, besides holding discussions on important issues.

Ansari convened an all-party meet today attended by leaders of various parties where it was decided to end the logjam with members sitting for extra time to dispose of pending legislations and take up important discussions in Rajya Sabha, which has not been functioning for past few days.

Asked if the rules need to be amended to give more powers to the Chairman, the deputy chairman said, “Even if you amend the rules, the same thing can happen. I don’t think the amendment of the rules is the final solution. But that will also help.”

Kurien, however, refused to give a direct reply on whether rules should be amended or not. “I don’t want to comment. But there is a feeling, some suggestions are there. Infact, hon’ble chairman himself once suggested amendment of the rules. I think it may be taken up,” he said.

Asked if the weapon of suspending a member be given to the Chair, he said, “I don’t want to say that. I am only saying the present position. There is a feeling, including some journalists say why not you suspend these members and proceed.

In Rajya Sabha rule book there is no such procedure. In Lok Sabha Hon’ble can do without a motion.

“Here, Hon’ble chairman or I can do only if a motion is moved and passed in the House. And going by the composition of the House, do you think such a motion will be passed here. So we are trying our best to run the house….” he said.

Kurien said “we were trying our best to run the House every day” and all weapons at their disposal like persuasion, appealing, requesting and even cajoling were used. Ansari had at a meeting of the Rules Committee of the Upper House reportedly sought change of rules to allow more powers to the Chair to suspend members creating frequent disruptions and hamper its functioning.