Finance Minister and Leader of Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was today equated with the mythological Ramayana figure, Hanuman, by a Samajwadi Party member who asked him to restore the Rajya Sabha’s legislative powers alleging that these were being curtailed.
SP leader Naresh Agarwal also asked the government to bring a legislation to amend the Constitution for the purpose, as the Opposition charged the government with curtailing the powers of the Rajya Sabha.
Initiating a discussion on four bills relating to the Goods and Services Tax, Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma said the Rajya Sabha “has deliberately not been given that much importance when it comes to important legislations”.
Agarwal said the entire Opposition had “serious objections” to the government bringing in GST as a money bill, alleging that Articles 109 and 110 of the Constitution are being misused. These articles define a money bill and specify the issues on which a legislation can be designated as such.
“You brought this as a money bill. We all have objections to this. When Hanuman was told about his powers, then he had realised. Arun Jaitley, you are our Hanuman, the Leader of this House and a constitutional expert. If you diminish the powers of this House, then your rights and power will also get curtailed,” Agarwal said.
He asked the government to bring in a constitutional amendment in this regard and said “I promise you that we will pass it unanimously.”
Referring to comments made by BJP member Bhupendra Yadav, Agarwal said “if that House (Lok Sabha) comprises of elected representatives, is this (Rajya Sabha) a House of beggars?”.
“If you consider us inferior, I don’t know why this discrimination was made. I do not want to criticise those who drafted the Constitution but there have been Amendments in the Constitution to correct the anomalies,” Agarwal said.
Defending the government’s move to bring the GST as a money bill, Yadav had said when it comes to tax laws and legislations relating to money, the people’s verdict is represented in the Lok Sabha as decided by the makers of the Constitution.