New Delhi, December 11: Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Rajya Sabha chairman, recently announced a significant alteration regarding the Friday sittings in the house. He declared the alignment of the Rajya Sabha's Friday session timing with that of the Lok Sabha, citing the diverse representation of members from various communities in the parliament.
Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar conveyed this change on December 8th, stating that the timing for Friday sessions would now mirror the Lok Sabha's schedule. The alteration drew attention when DMK MP Tiruchi N. Siva highlighted an agenda listed for 2 pm on Friday, December 8th, in the revised list of businesses.
The Rajya Sabha's Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business traditionally granted an additional 30-minute lunch break on Fridays, allowing Muslim members of the upper house time for namaz. Sessions usually ran from 11 am to 1 pm, and then from 2 pm to 6 pm, with a one-hour lunch break from 1 PM to 2 PM. However, on Fridays, the house reconvened at 2.30 PM, implicitly accommodating this additional break for namaz.
During the zero hour on Friday, DMK MP Tiruchi N. Siva raised this issue as a point of order, noting the absence of the usual break for namaz. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar clarified that this adjustment had been previously established and was not a recent development. He emphasized that the timing change aimed to synchronize the Rajya Sabha's Friday schedule with that of the Lok Sabha, highlighting the need for both houses, integral components of Parliament, to adhere to similar timings whenever feasible.
This alteration prompted objections from some members, notably DMK MP M. Mohamed Abdulla, who contended that the 2.30 pm timing had been a longstanding practice, specifically accommodating Muslim members for their Friday prayers. In response, Dhankhar reiterated the inclusivity of the Parliament, comprising members from diverse sections of society. He reiterated that the decision to alter the timing had been made consciously, ensuring alignment with the Lok Sabha's schedule and representing all segments of society within Parliament.
Despite objections initially raised by some members, Dhankhar clarified that this change had been implemented in the previous session and had been communicated to the members. Subsequently, no further protests were voiced by the attendees. However, despite this development, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha available on the Sansad Website remains unaltered, displaying the provision for an additional 30-minute lunch break on Fridays, as per the 2016 edition document.