Minister's absence forces Speaker to adjourn House
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, August 04: Government faced embarrassing moments in the Lok Sabha today with Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourning the House for a shortwhile over the absence of Home Minister Shivraj Patil when a calling attention notice in which he was to respond came up for discussion.

�I take strong view of this.

I don't approve of this.

I am adjourning the House for ten minutes,� the Speaker announced on finding the Minister not present in the House.

Opposition members shouted �shame, shame� as the Speaker adjourned the proceedings.

The calling attention related to the situation arising out of on-going economic blockade in Manipur resulting in non-availability of essential commodities, including medicines and steps taken by the Government in this regard.

With the calling attention, listed as item number 14, coming up, the Speaker first enquired from Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee about the whereabouts of the Home Minister.

In the meantime, Information and Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy sought permission to table his statement regarding the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in a Standing Committee report pertaining to his ministry.

�The next item is not ready...You can read the statement,� the Speaker suggested to the I and B Minister.

As he came to the end of the statement after which there were annexures, BJP Deputy Leader V K Malhotra said these only needed to be tabled and wanted to know why the Home Minister was not present in the House.

At this stage, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs B K Handique entered the House.

The Speaker then asked him �Where is the Home Minister?�.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was present in the House when the Speaker voiced his displeasure over the Minister's absence.

The Speaker has on several occasions made it clear that Ministers should be present in the House when business relating to their Ministries mentioned in the listed agenda is taken up.