A day after the Congress had given a notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan seeking permission to bring a breach-of-privilege motion against HRD Minister Smriti Irani, it gave a notice against her in the Rajya Sabha too. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad gave the notice, which was signed also by Sharad Yadav (JD[U]), Anand Sharma (Congress) and K T S Tulsi.
The BJP, which has countered the Lok Sabha notice against Smriti with a notice against Jyotiraditya Scindia, is planning a counter against the Rajya Sabha notice by moving one against K C Tyagi (JD[U]), government sources said. Tyagi has said the current JNU controversy marks the first time police have entered the campus; the BJP plans to cite precedents of 1983 and 2009.
The Rajya Sabha notice against Smriti accuses her of “false, fabricated, misleading and unauthenticated statements” during her intervention on the debate on the situation in JNU and Hyderabad Central University.
About her statement on Goddess Durga, it says, “The significantly false, fabricated and unauthenticated statement was made by the minister on the basis of reported, stamped documents received from JNU registrar, thereby trying to malign the image of JNU and made derogatory remarks about Goddess Durga. It is important to note that despite being repeatedly asking by the chair to authenticate her statement, as to from where she was reading, the minister did not place the documents…” It quoted Rule 249 of the Rajya Sabha rules — “if a minister quotes in the council a dispatch or other state paper which has not been presented to the council, he shall lay the relevant paper on the table.”
The Opposition members also contested Smriti’s claim that the executive council of Hyderabad Central University, which suspended Rohith Vemula, had representation from the SC/ST community. “According to the minutes of the meeting dated November 27, 2015, of the executive council of Hyderabad University by which Rohith Vemula was suspended, there was no Dalit faculty member who was a part of the executive council…,” it said.
When the House resumed after a break, the BJP and the Opposition clashed over the privilege notice. Azad insisted that the chair allow the motion and hear those who had moved it. Naqvi said the Opposition has been left without any counter-arguments after Irani’s point-by-point factual rebuttal.
“You were comprehensively outwitted by the minister after her factual statement on the matter and you are left with no arguments. You cannot take the privilege route to suppress somebody’s voice,” Naqvi said.
Kurien ruled that the notice is under the consideration of chairman Hamid Ansari.
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