New Delhi [India], September 21 (ANI): Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has strongly slammed the opposition members, who were on Monday suspended for "disregarding the authority of chair" during the passage of agriculture bills in Rajya Sabha on Sunday and said their conduct of not withdrawing from the House "is illegal and further aggravates their conduct as far as violating norms is concerned".
Addressing a joint press conference here, Prasad said the conduct of opposition members on Sunday when the Rajya Sabha had taken up two agriculture bills for passage was "shameful, irresponsible and displayed utter disregard for propriety."
Eight opposition members were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Monday under Rule 256 by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. The House faced repeated adjournments as the members were repeatedly asked to withdraw from the House as per rules.
"Today's conduct of the suspended members of not recusing the House (Rajya Sabha) in spite of a declaration of suspension by the Chairperson is illegal and further aggravates their conduct as far as violating norms of the House is concerned," Prasad said.
Referring to the proceedings on Sunday, he said that Deputy Chairperson Harivansh, who was in the chair, could have faced a physical assault if marshals had not protected him.
"There is enough visual evidence available that if the marshals would have not protected the Deputy Chairperson, he would have been nearly physically assaulted," Prasad said.
He said that a member, who had been a minister in the UPA government, was part of the ruckus.
"They broke the microphones and pulled the wires from that. A person who had been a minister in UPA government came to the podium," he said.
Prasad said the Deputy Chairman requested the protesting opposition members to go back to their seats for 13 times but they did heed his directions.
"The debate was on from 9.30 am to 1 pm and later it was decided that the session will be extended till the bills are passed but soon after this announcement they started protesting and came into the well. The Deputy Chairperson said that you want to take the motion to select committee so please go back to your seats but they did not go. The Deputy Chairperson requested them to go back on their seats 13 times but they did not turn back. How will vote be conducted when you won't go back to your seats?" Prasad asked.
Prasad said it was a "shameful day" in the history of Parliament.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed chaotic scenes on Sunday as Opposition members stormed the well and reached the deputy chairman's seat to protest against the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
The bills were later passed by the Upper House through voice vote. They had earlier been passed by Lok Sabha.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present at the press conference. (ANI)