Parliament met for the 8th sitting of the Budget Session today. Lok
Sabha undertook a discussion on the General Budget and the Demands for
Excess Grants for 2011-2012 which lasted throughout the day.

In Rajya Sabha, several Members wanted to raise a Short Duration
Discussion on the unprecedented spurt in violence in Gaza and West Bank
area of Palestine causing death of scores of civilians.

However, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated that she had
written a letter to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha disagreeing the decision
to discuss the issue as it was neither admissible under the Rules nor
desirable.  The Minister requested the House to delay the discussion on
the issue until the Chairman’s decision on the letter was made and
stated that she would follow the Chairman’s decision.

Some Members argued that the List of Business was the property of the
House and can be amended only through taking a sense of the House.
Another Member argued that as the matter was listed in the day’s
business, it is presumed that the Rules have been taken into
consideration and the Chair has come to that decision. Therefore the
matter must be taken up.

The Deputy Chairman said that the Chair needs time for a ruling and
requested the House to proceed to the next item on the list, the Railway
Budget. However, following interruptions, the Upper House was adjourned
for the day.

Short Duration Discussions are raised under Rule 176-179 of Rules of
Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha. As per Rule 177, the
Chairman may admit a notice if he is satisfied that the matter is urgent
and of sufficient public importance, after calling for such information
as he may consider necessary from the Member who has given the notice
and the Minister.

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