The government on Thursday said it will press for the termination of Lok Sabha membership of one of the seven Congress lawmakers who were suspended after unruly scenes in the House.
“We will seek the expulsion of one member from the House,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told the media. He refrained from naming the member, but official sources disclosed that the reference was to Gaurav Gogoi, Congress MP from Kaliabor constituency of Assam and son of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The minister said the government will shortly submit a letter to Speaker Om Birla to request him to set up a committee to inquire into the conduct of Congress members. Joshi said the tearing of a document after snatching it from the Speaker’s table was “unprecedented”. He maintained that no BJP member, while in the Opposition, had ever snatched papers from the Speaker’s table. “Let them cite one such instance,” Joshi said. A BJP leader said a committee will be set up soon to look into whether the conduct of Opposition MPs in Lok Sabha on Thursday could invite termination of membership.
The Congress MPs were suspended under Rule 374 of the Rules of Procedure For The Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha. According to 374(1): The Speaker may, if he “deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof”. The next clause, (2), says, “If a member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the member (naming such member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session…”
As for the criticism that the resolution had been carried through in the absence of the Speaker, Rule 9(1) says: “At the commencement of the House or from time to time, as the case may be, the Speaker shall nominate from amongst the members a panel of not more than 10 Chairpersons, anyone of whom may preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker when so requested by the Speaker or, in the absence of the Speaker, by the Deputy Speaker.”
A member can be expelled (under different provisions) if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India (other than an office permitted by Parliament of India by law); if he possesses an unsound mind; is declared insolvent; has ceased being a citizen of India; disqualified by any law made by Parliament; disqualified on the ground of defection (under the 10th Schedule); has been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups; convicted for bribery; has been punished for preaching and practising untouchability, dowry, or sati; has been convicted for an offence and sentenced to imprisonment and has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the state (as a government servant).
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