The Opposition in Rajya Sabha demanded the suspension of all other business to discuss the Manipur issue under Rule 267.
- Rule 267 has become a contentious issue in recent Parliament sessions as no notices given by the Opposition under this rule have been accepted.
- On the first day of the monsoon session, the Opposition wanted to discuss Manipur under this rule. However, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha said the government was keen and agreeable for discussion under Rule 176 for Short Duration Discussion.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Articles:
- Rule 267 in Rajya Sabha
- Rule 176: Short Duration Discussion
- Manipur Violence
Rule 267 in Rajya Sabha
Rule 267 in the Rajya Sabha’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business allows members to suspend any existing rule temporarily to prioritize discussions on urgent matters of national importance. It provides a mechanism for giving precedence to crucial issues over other listed businesses in the House.
- Rule Suspension: As per Rule 267, any Rajya Sabha member, with the Chairman’s consent, can move a motion to suspend a specific rule’s application to a motion related to the day’s listed business. If the motion is carried through a vote, the concerned rule will be suspended temporarily.
- Issue Discussion: Under Rule 267, MPs can submit a written notice to suspend all other listed businesses and initiate a discussion on a pressing national issue.
- Chairperson’s Role: The Chairman of Rajya Sabha has the authority to decide whether to propose the motion for rule suspension based on the urgency and relevance of the topic for discussion.
- Voting Decision: The members present in the House vote on whether the rule should be suspended, making it a collective decision.
- Exemptions: Rule 267 will not apply if specific provisions exist for rule suspension under particular chapters of the Rules.
Significance of the Rule:
- Priority Discussions: Rule 267 holds immense importance as it allows for urgent discussions on critical national issues, temporarily suspending regular business to address pressing concerns.
- Exclusive Suspension: This type of discussion is distinct as it calls for the suspension of all other activities to prioritize the topic at hand.
- Government’s Response: During Rule 267 discussions, the government is obligated to respond to the issue raised, providing accountability on pressing matters.
- Opposition Complaints: The Opposition has expressed dissatisfaction, claiming that their notices under Rule 267 are not being considered for discussion.
- Rejection Instances: During the winter session, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha rejected eight such notices within two days, containing issues such as the border issue with China and rising prices of essential commodities.
Rule 176: Short Duration Discussion
- Provision: Rule 176 in the Rajya Sabha’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business allows Members of Parliament (MPs) to raise a discussion on matters of urgent public importance.
- Time Allocation: The time for the discussion is determined by the Business Advisory Committee.
- Notice Requirement: MPs must provide notice specifying the matter to be discussed and the reasons for its urgency.
- Admissibility Decision: The Chairman decides on the admissibility of the notice after seeking necessary information from the MP and the concerned Minister.
- Discussion Process: During the discussion, the MP raises the matter, followed by other MPs participating in the debate. The Minister-in-charge responds at the conclusion of the discussion.
- Turmoil and Segregation: Manipur has been embroiled in deadly violence for over two months, leading to clashes between the Meitei and Kuki tribal communities, resulting in their complete segregation.
- Casualties and Displacement: The violence has caused at least 130 deaths and displaced around 60,000 people.
Reasons Behind the Violence:
- Eviction Drive: Tensions began in February 2023 when the state government initiated an eviction drive, perceived to target a specific tribal group, leading to protests.
- High Court’s Order: The recent escalation was triggered by the Manipur High Court’s order to the state government to pursue a decade-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community.
- Historical Tensions: The Court’s order exacerbated historical tensions between the Meitei community residing in the valley and the hill tribes of the state.
- Violent Clashes: A ‘tribal solidarity march’ by the All-Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) against the High Court’s order resulted in violent clashes at various places in Manipur.
The situation in Manipur is deeply concerning, and the Short Duration Discussion under Rule 176 could be an essential platform for addressing the urgent public importance of the violent conflict and its underlying reasons. It allows MPs to raise the matter in Parliament and facilitates a comprehensive debate to find solutions and address the humanitarian crisis in the state.
-Source: Indian Express