New Delhi, March 22 - The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day on Thursday shortly after the House met amid an unending Parliament deadlock on the 14th consecutive day of the second half of the budget session.
However, the government managed to pass a key legislation that empowers it to fix the period of maternity leave and the tax-free gratuity amount of employees with an executive order.
The AIADMK, the TDP and the opposition members came near the Chair's podium as usual, flaunting placards and shouting slogans.
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu asked the agitating members to return to their seats, saying he could not understand why they were creating ugly scenes through their conduct.
People are saying as to why the Chairman is adjourning the House. I want to tell them that I don't want these ugly scenes to be seen by the people. That is why I have been adjourning, Naidu said over the chaos.
Today some people (from the opposition) said that they want the House to run, but some people have come into the podium. One day, one party does it, other day some other party does it. What can I do?
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said that it was everyone's responsibility to run the House.
The way this bill (Gratuity bill) has been passed, the other bills should also be passed. There is a long list of business, the other bills need to be passed too. The government is ready for discussion on every issue, Goel said amid the pandemonium.
At one point, both Naidu and Goel were speaking simultaneously over the din being created by the sloganeering members.
When the agitating MPs refused to relent, Naidu adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier, the Upper House unanimously passed the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, moved by junior Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, by voice vote without any discussion. Gangwar had requested the members to pass the important Bill quickly as the House was not in order to hold any discussion on the legislation.
Naidu had sought the cooperation of the members for the passage of the Bill. It had been passed by the Lok Sabha on March 15.
But as soon as the Bill was passed, members belonging to the AIADMK, the TDP and the Congress gathered near the Chairman's podium and began shouting slogans.
The Congress, Trinamool and other opposition parties members have been protesting against the rejection of their notices by the Chair for discussion on the multi-thousand crore Punjab National Bank fraud under an adjournment motion. They are also demanding extradition of diamondtaire Nirav Modi who is at the centre of the PNB fraud.
The TDP and the YSR Congress have been demonstrating for special status to Andhra Pradesh. The AIADMK has been demanding the setting up of a board for the management of the disputed Cauvery river water.
However, the opposition has accused the government of using friendly parties like the AIADMK and the TDP to scuttle the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha to avoid discussion on the PNB fraud and other issues.
Earlier, as the House assembled for the day, Chairman Naidu greeted the members and the country on World Water Day and urged all to protect the eco-system and support the conservation of water for the future generations.