In the case of one of the two leaders, national spokesperson Nupur Sharma, the BJP, which sees itself as a disciplined and cadre-based party, invoked Rule 10(a) of its constitution as reason for the action.
In a letter to Sharma, Om Pathak, Member Secretary, Central Disciplinary Committee of the BJP, said: “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters, which is in clear violation of Rule 10(a) of the Constitution of the Bharatiya Janata Party. I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/ assignments if any, with immediate effect.”
Article II of the BJP’s constitution lays down the “objective” of the party, which was formed in 1980 by the members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh who left after the collapse of the Janata Party experiment.
The objective of the BJP says: “The party aims to establish a democratic state, which guarantees to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or sex, political, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity, and liberty of faith and expression.”
The party constitution contains 34 articles. Along with filling in party membership forms, one has to take a pledge that “I subscribe to concept of Secular State and nation not based on religion… I undertake to abide by the Constitution, Rules and discipline of the Party.”
Article XXV-5 states: “National Executive will frame rules for the constitution of Disciplinary Committee at different levels for deciding matters relating to violation of discipline.” The rules are listed at the end of the constitution, along with details of the necessary action, and the process of action.
A 10-part process is listed as part of “disciplinary Action” in case of breach of discipline. Six types of breach of discipline are listed.
Rule 10 gives extraordinary powers to the party president to discipline members. It says: “The National President if he so desires, may suspend any member and then start disciplinary proceedings against him.” It is under this rule that Sharma has been suspended even before an inquiry against her.
Para (a) under “Breach of Discipline” states: “Acting or carrying on propaganda against programme or decision of the Party.”
Under the rules, “Disciplinary Action Committee of not more than 5 members will be constituted… Committees shall draw their own procedures; State Disciplinary Action Committee can take action only against units subordinates to it…;
“On receipt of a complaint, the National President or the state president…may suspend an individual or a Unit followed by a show-cause notice within a week of the said order;
“Maximum 10 days’ time from the date of receipt of such notice may be given to a person to reply…;
“Committee will submit its report to the President in not more than 15 days…”