"Passing Laws Or Making Papri Chaat?": Derek O'Brien's Swipe At Centre

This is not the first time Derek O'Brien has hit out over the rushing of bills; in 2019 he asked: "Are we delivering pizzas ...", in response to the passing of the 'triple talaq' bill

'Passing Laws Or Making Papri Chaat?': Derek O'Brien's Swipe At Centre

Derek O'Brien is a Rajya Sabha MP from Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress (File)

New Delhi:

Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien has slammed the government for rushing bills through Parliament "at an average time of under seven minutes per bill", sarcastically asking if it was "making papri chaat".

The Rajya Sabha MP accused the government of violating the "sanctity of parliament".

In a caustic tweet posted Monday morning, Mr O'Brien wrote: "In the first 10 days, Modi-Shah rushed through and passed 12 bills at an average time of UNDER SEVEN MINUTES per Bill... "

"Passing legislation or making papri chaat!" he tweeted.

Mr O'Brien attached a graphic listing bills passed through both Houses of Parliament and, according to that data, each was passed within minutes of its introduction.

The quickest was the Coconut Development Board Bill (passed in one minute) and the slowest the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Bill (passed in 14 minutes).

The government has yet to react to the tweet.

This is not the first time Mr O'Brien has slammed the government for rushing bills; in 2019 he asked: "Are we delivering pizzas...", in response to the "hurried" passage of the 'triple talaq' bill.

The monsoon session of Parliament, which began July 19, has conducted little business amid chaos and opposition protests over a number of issues, including the farm laws and the Pegasus row.

Protests over the Pegasus phone-hacking allegations, in particular, have been fierce, with the Congress and other opposition parties repeatedly stalling Parliament and uniting in their demand for a discussion in Parliament (with Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah present).

They have also demanded an independent judicial probe into allegations an Indian client of Israel's NSO Group used the controversial spyware to hack into over 300 phones belonging to journalists, activists and opposition leaders, as well as a constitutional authority and current union ministers.

On Friday proceedings in both Houses were disrupted yet again over this and the farm laws.

The government has claimed a loss of Rs 133 crore due to the disruptions; a statement via unnamed "sources" on Saturday said the Lok Sabha had only functioned for about seven of a possible 54 hours, and the Rajya Sabha 11 of a possible 53.

It has also, so far, refused both a probe and discussion into the Pegasus row, pointing to a statement by IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw - one of the alleged targets - that, in their view, ends the discussion.

Mr O'Brien's Trinamool Congress, however, has set up a judicial commission to investigate the claims.

The Prime Minister last week attacked the Congress, accusing it of not allowing Parliament to function, and asked BJP MPs to "expose the party before the public and the media".

The opposition has said blocking Parliament - a tactic widely used and espoused by the BJP when it was not in power - is a democratic process to force the government to acquiesce to its demands over a serious national security and privacy row "bigger than Watergate".

With input from PTI

Disclaimer: The NSO group, which owns Pegasus, admits this is spyware and is used to hack phones, but says it does business only with governments and government agencies. The Israeli company says it does not corroborate the list of potential targets reported by media companies around the world.

Disclaimer: The Indian government has said there is "no substance" to the reports of Pegasus being used by it against opposition leaders, journalists and others. NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the list of those who were supposedly targeted.