On July 15, several prominent politicians tweeted a circular called Parliamentary Bulletin Part II. According to this decree, members cannot use the Parliament House premise for any demonstrations, dharnas, fasts, etc. It is undersigned by the Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha.
Politicians such as Manish Tewari and Jairam Ramesh of the Indian National Congress and Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took to Twitter to express their disappointment regarding this circular.
Manish Tewari wrote that Presiding Officers were setting the stage for a confrontation with the members. He further referred to the list of words that were recently declared unparliamentary. It is important to note that unparliamentary expression does not mean that these words have been banned.
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) July 15, 2022
Jairam Ramesh tweeted the decree with a wordplay.
Vishguru’s latest salvo — D(h)arna Mana Hai! pic.twitter.com/4tofIxXg7l
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 15, 2022
Sanjay Singh tweeted this circular with a caption in Hindi, calling it an insult to the MPs.
संसद का नया फ़रमान, सांसदों का है अपमान। pic.twitter.com/g4Le7xJqGO
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) July 15, 2022
Mahua Moitra of All India Trinamool Congress also shared this circular on Twitter.
Why not just remove Gandhiji’s statue from the premises?
And erase Article 19 (1) a of the constitution. pic.twitter.com/PriwGof3rE
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) July 15, 2022
Several media houses such as The Indian Express, The Print, NDTV, The Hindu, National Herald, India TV, Live Mint, Firstpost, etc., have published reports based on the tweets by opposition leaders. Most of these outlets have attributed the Press Trust of India (PTI) for the story. Almost all media outlets mentioned have reported as if this is a new rule.
We performed a keyword search that took us to the Parliament Bulletin Part-II page present on the website of the Rajya Sabha. Rummaging the page for the month of July, we found the circular titled, “Demonstration, Dharna, Strike, Fast, etc., within precincts of the Parliament House”.
This circular read exactly like the one viral on social media.
Reacting to the news of this decree, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said that there is no such “restriction”. “We have received a statement from Parliament speaker that there is no such restriction. Leaders of all political parties will sit together tomorrow in Delhi and discuss,” said Pawar.
Moreover, we also found a statement from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla appealing to all political parties to abstain from making such allegations without ascertaining the facts.
“It (such circulars to members) is a process. This practice has been carried on for a long time. My appeal to all political parties is that in Parliament or the Assemblies, they should abstain from making charges and counter-charges without ascertaining the facts…” said Birla.
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted the same decree issued in 2009 i.e., during the UPA era. Like Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha has also issued this circular several times in the past. (check here).
The no dharna, no religious ceremony rule in parliament precincts is not new. Has been there from UPA times. This is Feb 2009. pic.twitter.com/Vp9Q8eMrZN
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 15, 2022
To sum it up, a decree regularly issued by both the houses of the parliament that instructs the members not to use the Parliament House premise for demonstrations or dharnas was selectively shared by several prominent politicians. Multiple media outlets also reported on the statements by opposition members however, they did not clarify that the circular isn’t new.
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