New Delhi: The Winter Session of Parliament that usually begins in the last week of November won’t take place this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government will convene the Budget Session in January 2021, parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi said in a letter to Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
“The winter months are very crucial for managing the pandemic because of a recent spurt in cases during this period, particularly in Delhi. We are in the middle of December and a Covid vaccine is expected very soon,” Mr Joshi said.
Attacking the government over the issue, the Congress said Tuesday the “decimation of parliamentary democracy is complete” and asked why, if election campaigning can be done amid the pandemic, the session could not be held. Senior party leader and Rajya Sabha chief whip Jairam Ramesh also said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad wasn’t consulted.
The minister said the government had spoken to floor leaders of political parties informally and they had expressed concerns about the pandemic.
“The government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest; it would be appropriate to have the Budget Session in January, keeping in mind the unprecedented circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Joshi said in the letter.
The Constitution broadly stipulates one major rule — that there should not be a gap of over six months between two sessions of Parliament. It has been a convention to hold three sessions of Parliament — budget, monsoon and winter — in a year.