Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told ET that the government will convene the monsoon session in due course, but added that there have been instances when monsoon sessions began in late August or early September.
“Unlocking is happening now. Parliament session will certainly take place in due course. The government will decide the timing of the session after consultations, as per rules and conventions. But let me also point out that there have been many instances in the past when the monsoon session of Parliament started in late August or early September. So, there have been delays,” Joshi said when ET asked him about the demands from Opposition parties for an early monsoon session of Parliament to discuss the Chinese incursions, economic meltdown, Covid-19 and lockdown.
Joshi said that since the last session ended only by March end, there was time till end September to adhere to the law on holding a session at least once in six months. “Since the last session ended in March, there is also time till September before the six month period ends. So, there is no delay at all.”
The minister’s comments indicate the government may be looking at an August-September timeline for the monsoon session, subject to review of the Covid-19 situation.
“Around 4,000 to 5,000 people, including around 2,000 staff, have to be in the vicinity of Parliament House during a session. Because of Covid-19, there have been health concerns,” he said. O
n Opposition leaders’ seeking special arrangements for early resumption of standing committee meetings, Joshi said, “when some Opposition members and chairpersons tried to convene some standing committees meetings, many MPs expressed unwillingness to participate in them by travelling to Delhi because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is quite serious in Delhi though it is showing improvement now.
What can government do if a large number of MPs don’t want to come to Delhi right now to attend standing committee meetings? After all, there are health concerns…When I tried to travel by plane to Bangalore yesterday, the first flight had to be cancelled because only a handful of passengers were there. That is how it is now.”
After presiding officers of both Houses rejected the demand of some Opposition chairpersons for virtual meetings of House panels, by citing ‘confidentiality clause’, some MPs have been routinely seeking special facilities/exemption for the meetings.
One House panel met a few days back, the first time since the lockdown, while chairpersons of some panels have scheduled more meetings subject to availability of quorum.
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