Rajya Sabha MPs move privilege notice against Jay Panda


NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: As many as six MPs of Rajya Sabha have moved a breach of privilege notice against Biju Janata Dal Lok Sabha member Baijayant (Jay) Panda for his opinions arguing for constitutional and political reforms in India where powers, especially the veto powers of Rajya Sabha are rationalised.

Panda argued for reduced powers of Rajya Sabha so that it is not able to block the popular Bills passed by the lower house.Baijayant Panda

The BJD MP had written an opinion piece in Times of India “Less check, more balance: Reforms must reduce Rajya Sabha’s power to block the popular mandate, unparalleled globally”.

He cited examples of US, UK, and Italy to show that globally it was unparalleled the way Rajya Sabha in India could block the popular mandate.

“It is instructive to consider how other democracies deal with these issues. Take for instance the UK, on whose Westminster model of parliamentary democracy our system is mostly based. Till a century ago, its House of Lords could reject all bills except money bills, just like our Rajya Sabha today. However, in 1911 the Brits amended this, reducing its powers from being able to block legislation to only delay it up to two years. Then in 1949 the House of Lords’ powers were further diluted, so that today, with minor exceptions, all it can do is delay legislation for up to a year,” said Panda in the article.

“In theory, Rajya Sabha is supposed to represent the interests of states as a whole. But in practice, what it thus represents are the interests of parties, in fact of party leaderships. Other democracies have faced, and resolved similar problems,” said Panda.

However, his views have landed the BJD leader in trouble as some members of the Rajya Sabha have decided to move a privilege motion against him.

On Twitter, Panda revealed names of the MPs who ‘could not tolerate his op-ed’. These included Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, KC Tyagi of Janta Dal (United), D Raja of CPI, and Mohsina Kidwali of Congress.