Circular prohibiting protest in Parliament House is not new – Alt News



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.

Jairam Ramesh tweeted the decree with a wordplay.

Sanjay Singh tweeted this circular with a caption in Hindi, calling it an insult to the MPs.

Mahua Moitra of All India Trinamool Congress also shared this circular on Twitter.

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.

Fact-check

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.

Taking Speaker Birla’s words as a clue, we probed further and found the same decree issued in 2019, 2020, 2021, and even in January 2022.

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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).

This circular can also be found on Rajya Sabha’s website issued in 2012 and 2013. The handbook for members of Rajya Sabha (2010), has this instruction under the topic of General Matters.

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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