New Delhi: Sloganeering, boycotts, walkouts and disruptions in the Monsoon Session of Parliament led to 151 of the scheduled 206 work hours being wasted, according to responses to a Right to Information (RTI) query on Friday. The replies came from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats. However, no new steps to prevent such washouts are being proposed by Parliament and there is no information on the hourly costs incurred by Parliament for functioning of the two Houses, the RTI reply said.
The responses also revealed that the Lok Sabha lost 83.53 hours of its time due to walkouts and disruptions, while the Rajya Sabha lost 65.30 hours. The month-long Monsoon Session began on August 8 and ended on September 7. The two Houses had 19 sittings and lost 13 days due to disruptions.
"The Lok Sabha functioned only for 24.22 hours during the Monsoon Session and lost 77.51 hours due to interruption and adjournment. The House also stood adjourned for 8.12 hours during the session after then minister Vilasrao Deshmukh died," the RTI reply said. "The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, worked for 26.40 hours during the Monsoon Session and lost 65.30 hours," the RTI findings revealed.
During the session, only three bills were passed by the Rajya Sabha, while Question Hour was taken up once, when only 11 of the 399 questions meant for reply in the House could be taken up. Asked about the estimated hourly cost of functioning of the Lok Sabha, its secretariat said: "Such information is not maintained. No special expenditure for Parliament Session was incurred."
A majority of the sittings during the Monsoon Session were washed out over the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation for the coal blocks allocations. "No new steps to prevent any such washouts are proposed, as existing rules under the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Rajya Sabha is sufficient," the legislative section of the Rajya Sabha secretariat said.
The Lok Sabha secretariat too cited rules and procedures that are already available to regulate smooth conduct of proceedings. With regard to the minor scuffle between Samajwadi Party (SP) member Naresh Agrawal and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Avtar Singh Karimpuri over introduction of a bill to provide quotas for promotions in government jobs, the Rajya Sabha secretariat said: "The situation was noticed by the chair and the concerned members were cautioned by the chair in the house at the time of the incident."
It said, both the SP and BSP members have been given notices for breach of privilege on which comments have been sought from them. "The Rajya Sabha chairman is seized of the matter and the information is privileged and protected" from disclosure under RTI Act, it added.