Cong MP Venugopal gives privilege notice against Smriti Irani

K C Venugopal cites 5 ‘misleading statements’ of HRD minister in House debate

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Published: March 1, 2016 3:46 am
smriti, motion against smriti, smriti irani, rohith vemula, smriti irani speech, parliament, budget session, budget session news, congress, india news Irani at Parliament on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Seeking permission to move a breach of privilege motion against HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Congress MP K C Venugopal Monday gave a notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and contended that Irani misled the House and the nation on the issue of government intervention in Delhi’s JNU and the Hyderabad Central University while intervening in a debate on the topic last week.

While Venugopal cited five instances to back his contention, CPM MP Mohammed Salim is also likely to give a privilege notice against Irani. The party’s general secretary, Sitaram Yechury said, “If the privilege notice is not accepted in Lok Sabha, the party plans to give a notice in Rajya Sabha, of which Smriti Irani is a member.”

In his notice, Venugopal challenged Irani’s statement that a doctor was not allowed near PhD scholar Rohith Vemula after he allegedly hanged himself in a university hostel room on January 17. The Congress MP said the university’s chief medical officer has countered Irani’s claim, and that “security officials found the body in the hostel room and she (the CMO) got a call around 7.20 pm and rushed to the hostel to examine the body”.

The CMO, he pointed out, has also said that by the time she reached, the body had been removed from the ceiling fan and within 10 minutes the student was declared dead. Venugopal said the doctor has claimed to have informed the Vice Chancellor immediately. The V-C, in turn, asked her whether there was any possibility of reviving Vemula, the MP said, adding that the minister’s statement is “highly contradictory”.

The second instance cited by Venugopal was regarding Irani’s claim that a book by social activist Teesta Seetalvad and commissioned by Kapil Sibal, the HRD Minister during the previous UPA regime, was being taught in class IV in Mumbai’s Don Bosco School. Stating that this claim has been countered by the school itself, Venugopal cited The Indian Express’s interview with the school principal, Father Bernard Fernandes, in which he said the handbook was discontinued way back in 2001.

Venugopal also said the student who organised the Mahishasur Martyrdom Day in JNU has denied that the statement Irani had quoted in Parliament was released either by him or his colleagues who organised the event.

The Congress MP also countered Irani’s statement about the release of fellowship stipend to Vemula and her claim that the proctorial board, which decided to expel Vemula and four other Dalit scholars of HCU, had representation from the SC/ST community. Venugopal said it has been reported that there was no SC/ST member on this board.

“This is gross violation of rules of the House and blatant misuse of constitutional powers as a minister,” the Congress MP said, adding that the minister deliberately hid truths.

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  1. A
    Mar 1, 2016 at 2:23 am
    We are paying price for our decision to vote.
    1. K
      K S
      Mar 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm
      Article 75(5) Of Consution of India has been grossly misused by every Govt since 1950 reads as " A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either house of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister. " The Prime Minister and Union Ministers of India, in fact, are the voice of the people, hence they must be duly elected Members Of The Lower House Of The Parliament only and not from The Upper House ie Rajya Sabha to instil a sense of responsibility in them towards their Parliamentary consuency they represent. The words uttered, the signs made, the body language, the tone and facial expression of cabinet Ministers during the debate sends a strong signal to the voters of their consuency on the basis of which they are likely to make their choice in future, but a member of Upper house ie Rajya Sabha is not directly answerable and liable to the voters, hence cares little for the people of the country. There is no such thing in the Article 75(5) that suggests appointing directly a Minister or Prime Minister who does not represent the people its an exigency clause in the event of a change in the Ministerial berth or change of Prime Minister occurs but, the Consutional provision has been misused to byp the mandate of the people to the advantage of the not so acceptable politicians at the electoral hustings. All the political parties have been taking undue advantage of Article 75(5) of the Consution hence none of these ever intended to Amend it. The words "Of Either House " needs to be replaced by the words " Lower House" for shutting the back door entry. The Consutional provision Article 75(5) must be read in consonance with Article 75(3) and not in isolation, which makes it mandatory for all the Council of Ministers collectively responsible to the House of People conveying that a Minister has to be from the Lower House of the Parliament initially and nobody can be a Minister for more than 6 months if at the time of becoming a Minister he is not a member of either House of the Parliament. the joint reading of Article 75(3) and 75(5) conveys that if a person is not a member of either House of Parliament he can at the most remain as a Minister only for a period of 6 months, however, for continuing as a Minister he will have to seek election to the Lower House of the Parliament. If it be not so, the Article 75(3) of the Consution of India completely loses its significance. Hence, the amendment is necessitated for preventing the misuse of Article 75(5) by any political party.
      1. G
        Mar 1, 2016 at 4:43 am
        Smrithi Irani is one of our finest parliamentarian we have. I do not care of any privilege motion against her. She knows how to defend herself.she will be one of greatest leaders sooner than you can imagine. Her sincerity, hard work ,patriotism will make her a great statesman
        1. S
          Shubhi patel
          Mar 1, 2016 at 2:38 am
          Smriti's speech was an eye opener to most of us, she quoted the facts which were provided to her by the police regarding the suicide case and for JNU she quoted the pamphlets that were circulated, so what is the lie. Lie is what chidambram did to the affidavit in ishtrat jahan case . Congis and left always side the anti nationals .
          1. N
            Mar 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm
            You are sick
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