Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu voiced strong concern on Friday over the conduct of some MPs in the Upper House of Parliament during their protest over the Pegasus snooping row and other issues, saying such conduct lowered the dignity and prestige of the House.
Appealing to the members to maintain decorum and decency in the House, he said some MPs were whistling while some others used placards to block the view of ministers.
A few others placed their hands over the shoulders of the marshals when the MPs of opposition parties such as the Congress and the TMC were protesting over different issues in the Well of the House.
"All these things are taking the House to a new low. I am very much concerned about this," Naidu said at the start of the day's business. "I only request to all the members to see that the decency and dignity of the House is maintained. That is my earnest appeal. There is a limit to patience and we should not exhaust the patience of the House."
He said the two options before him are to either allow such conduct and convert the House into a "bazaar" or take action.
"House has a decorum, prestige and practice. That has to be seen," he said.
While protesting over issues is fine, the dignity and the prestige of the House should not be compromised, Naidu said.
MPs from opposition parties have stalled the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha since the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament on July 19 over issues ranging from the use of Israeli-made, military-grade Pegasus spyware to snoop on political rivals, critics of the government and journalists, to contentious farm laws and the fuel price hike.
"It was brought to my notice that some members are whistling in the House. 'Siti baja rahe hai apni purani aadat se' (whistling because of an old habit). This is House," Naidu said. "Secondly, some members are putting their hands on the shoulders of the marshals. I do not know what prompted them."
Also, some members carrying placards are standing in front of the ministers, blocking their view, he said.
"There are two ways (to deal with this) -- one, ignore this and allow this to become a bazaar (market). 'Har ek apna siti bajata rahe, bajate raho' (everyone can whistle)," Naidu said. "Second, taking action."
The chairman said he felt really sorry to say this from the podium.
"I never expected my members to go to that level," he said.
MPs can protest, walk out of the House, vehemently oppose the government and even stall business, Naidu said, adding that some had told him that business was stalled during the previous regimes as well.
"I am not going into that," he said.
The Rajya Sabha chairman, who is also the vice president of the country, said the Question Hour and the Zero Hour are the members' property and not the property of the government.
During the Question Hour, the members can raise questions over various issues and elicit a response from the ministers concerned, while in the Zero Hour, they can raise issues of public importance.
But when names are called to raise questions or present Zero-Hour subjects, the members do not respond because they are protesting in the Well, Naidu said.
To educate people about the issues their MPs wanted to raise during the Zero Hour, the Rajya Sabha Bulletin, which carries the day's proceedings, will mention those, he added.
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