Opposition Congress MLAs in Uttarakhand expressed their dissent on Monday by walking out of a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Uttarakhand Assembly. The protest was in response to the committee’s decision to waive the Question Hour during the special assembly session, scheduled to present a bill on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
The UCC bill is set to be introduced in the House on Tuesday (February 6).
Responding to the opposition’s protest, Speaker Ritu Khanduri said that the UCC is a crucial law not only for Uttarakhand but for the entire nation.
Khanduri justified the decision to waive the Question Hour, stating that at times, matters of immense importance take precedence over routine parliamentary procedures. "UCC is going to be a very important law, not just for Uttarakhand but for the whole country. The Question Hour is important too but sometimes things are so significant that take precedence over routine procedures of the House," she was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Leader of the Opposition in the Uttarakhand Assembly, Yashpal Arya, raised concerns about the neglect of procedural rules in presenting the UCC Bill.
< p>He highlighted the infringement on members’ rights and criticized the government’s decision to delay the Question Hour until after the commencement of the UCC discussion.
Arya told ANI: "They are bringing the UCC Bill to the assembly. The rules manual is being neglected. The rights of the members are being attacked. They said that the discussion will begin after ending the Question Hour.".
#WATCH | Dehradun: Uttarakhand Assembly LoP Yashpal Arya says, "They are bringing the UCC Bill to the assembly. The rules manual is being neglected… The rights of the members are being attacked… They said that the discussion will begin after ending the Question Hour…" pic.twitter.com/jEwR2AWGlJ
— ANI (@ANI) February 5, 2024
Later in the day, a delegation led by Yashpal Arya met the governor, submitting a memorandum signed by all 19 Congress MLAs, expressing their protest and seeking the governor’s intervention.
The Congress Legislature met His Excellency Shri Governor Uttarakhand and presented a memorandum.
As you are aware that the second session of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly for the year 2023 which will be held on 08 September, 2023 Was adjourned sine die at the end of the fast of 05… pic.twitter.com/jhC1hlkvFi
— Yashpal Arya (@IamYashpalArya) February 5, 2024
The letter argued that the decision to waive the Question Hour violated rules governing House business, displaying a disregard for constitutional and parliamentary norms. The Congress MLAs questioned the constitutionality of the decision on technical grounds.
In their memorandum, the Congress members challenged the categorization of the ongoing session as a special session, contending that the previous session had not been prorogue. The MLAs, including Yashpal Arya, Pritam Singh, Bhuvan Kapri, Rajendra Singh Bhandari, Harish Singh, Mamata Rakesh, Furkan Ahmad, and Tilak Raj Behar, among others, urged the Governor to issue necessary instructions to the government to uphold constitutional principles.< /p>
Responding to queries about the Congress members resigning from the business advisory committee, Speaker Khanduri stated that no such communication had been received, according to the PTI report.
Prior to the commencement of the special UCC session, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami assured that the UCC would benefit all sections and encouraged positive debates on the bill in the House.