Government To Fill Vacancies In Statutory Panels Soon, Says Minister
Opposition protests over the delay in filling up of vacancies in the commissions for SCs, STs, backward classes and the minorities rocked Parliament for the third consecutive day today. Replying to the opposition criticism in the Lok Sabha, Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said there were precedences of long delay in filling up of such vacancies and the government was bringing a bill to accord constitutional status to the OBC Commission. He said the process to appoint new members was affected due to model code of conduct for the assembly polls and the government has now initiated steps to fill the vacancies as soon as possible.
Gehlot also cited specific examples of delay of 3-10 months in filling up vacancies in ST and other commissions under the previous governments.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by Congress MP K Suresh who said he wanted to bring an adjournment motion on the issue. A number of other opposition lawmakers vociferously criticised the government for the delay, accusing it of ignoring the welfare of the downtrodden.
Rejecting the charges, Gehlot said government will soon bring a bill to give constitutional status to the OBC Commission.
For the third day in a row, the issue figured in the Rajya Sabha with opposition SP and BSP members taking on the government on the issue.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the notices under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to discuss the issue moived by opposition members have been rejected and they can give notice for a short-duration discussion, which will be considered.
The Rajya Sabha may tomorrow discuss the issue tomorrow, as Ramgopal Yadav (SP) said such a notice will be given provided the Chair agreed for a discussion tomorrow.
Kurien at first said a proper notice should be given which will be considered by the Chair, but when Yadav persisted that the Chair should give an assurance that the notice will be accepted and discussion held tomorrow, the Deputy Chairman said, "OK."
Opposition members, who had risen to protest on the matter, resumed their places after this and the listed business was taken up.
Earlier, Kurien said 267 notices on the issue are rejected. "You can give another notice for short duration discussion. That can be examined. That can be considered. No problem. But not 267."
When the House met, SP, BSP and Congress members were up on their feet raising the issue of vacant posts in the commissions.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was ready to reply to any discussion on the issue, adding that the vacancies could not be filled up because of the model code of conduct for assembly elections coming into force.
Mayawati (BSP) said the government must answer why constitutional commissions were being made "ineffective".
Digvijaya Singh (Cong) sought to know the fate of his substantive motion seeking discussion on the conduct of Goa Governor in not inviting the single largest party, Congress, to form government in the state after assembly elections.
"Your notice is there. Chairman has admitted it. It is for the government, Leader of the House to give time for discussion. We are waiting for that time and date," Kurien said. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)