Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday rebuked members of the House over poor attendance. A crucial legislation to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes was passed in the Rajya Sabha Monday evening.
As the proceedings of the House commenced, Naidu observed that 156 members were present at the time when the constitution amendment bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
"We just scraped through," Naidu said adding “yesterday we passed a historic bill unanimously.”
"What is the total presence in the House? 156. What is the strength of the House? On such a constitution amendment where there is unanimity, where there is consensus, and we just scrape through," said Naidu citing the rule on passage of a constitution amendment bill.
“We were exactly a little above the mark, that's all. Otherwise, you can't get it approved also," he said. Political parties, on such matters should issue whips to their members, so that their presence can be ensured, Naidu added.
"On such matters, parties also through their whips (leaders) must see to it that members are cautioned, or guided or directed to be there on time and also vote in such things," he said.
"Whenever there is an important legislation in Parliament, better be present in the House in large numbers, so that a message goes to the society," added Venkaiah Naidu.
Asking members to be punctual and to assemble in the House before the commencement of proceedings at 11:00 am, Naidu said “I have been seeing that members are coming after the Chairman comes and the House assembles.”
"The practice is that everybody should be there in the seat before the Chairman comes and then we must start. That will send a good message."
The Rajya Sabha chairman further observed it would not make much of a difference if the House members arrive five minutes early and said members who arrive late also disturb others to reach their allocated seat.
"All these things can be avoided. This will enhance the prestige and decorum of the House," he said.
Naidu also asked ministers for an advance notice on absence, when papers listed against their name are to be taken up.
"I will not allow any statement made by any minister on behalf of other ministers unless I get notice beforehand and then I permit it," he said.
"This is not permissible. This is the last day. I am not going to allow it at all. Please take note of it," he added.
Rajya Sabha has a total strength of 245. Majority of the members, that is more than half, are required to be present when an amendment to the Constitution is passed. It can be passed only when two-thirds of the members are present and vote in favour.