March 7, 2020 12:36:18 am
A day after seven Congress MPs were suspended on grounds of “gross misconduct” in Lok Sabha, the House was informed on Friday that a committee chaired by Speaker Om Birla will look into all instances of indiscipline in the House from March 2 to 5. The committee, which will have representatives from all parties, will submit its report to the House.
The announcement was made by BJP member Kirit P Solanki, who was in the Chair, as Speaker Birla, reportedly upset over the conduct of members inside the House, stayed away from the proceedings for the third consecutive day.
On Thursday, Congress MPs Gaurav Gogoi, T N Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, Benny Behanan, B. Manickam Tagore, Rajmohan Unnithan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla were suspended under Rule 374 (2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business for the remainder of the Budget Session.
Members of Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, protested against the suspension on Friday both inside and outside the House. Soon after Lok Sabha assembled at 11 am, Congress MPs rushed into the Well and demanded withdrawal of the suspension order and resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah over the Delhi violence. Solanki, who was in the Chair, appealed them to return to their seats but they continued to raise slogans, leading to an adjournment.
When Lok Sabha met again at noon, Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the suspension of the MPs. “We always regard the Chair as the Pope of the Vatican. We have never entertained any kind of guts and gumptions to dishonour the Chair. Yesterday, our seven members were suspended for the rest of the session. This has set an extraordinary precedent in the House… We just demanded that a discussion should take place in the House over Delhi riots. If you don’t want a discussion, then it’s a different story, but as far as the suspension of seven MPs is concerned, I don’t know on what basis it has been done,” Chowdhury said. “Jebkatue ko fansi ke takhte par nahi chadhaya ja sakta hai. (A pickpocket cannot be hanged),” he added
“It is true that Opposition Members protested, but what was the trigger,” asked Chowdhury, referring to comments made by BJP ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s leader and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal on Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Requesting the Speaker to recall the decision to suspend the MPs, the DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran said, “We are demanding a discussion. Fifty people have died in the city of Delhi because of communal violence. The Home Minister has not even come to the House to respond. The Prime Minister has not come to the House. Naturally, the members will get agitated.”
Describing the decision to suspend the MPs as “very harsh” and “unwanted”, TMC member Sudip Bandyopadhyay requested the Speaker to withdraw it.
NCP’s Supriya Sule said, “What is happening in the House is not a pleasurable experience and we are not setting a good example for the country either. We would have never reached this logjam provided the discussion was allowed on all the issues that the members from the Opposition are raising because the Delhi riots issue is exceptionally a critical issue.”
“I think the suspension is totally disproportionate. I even went and met the honorable Speaker yesterday requesting him about this…I would like to request him to consider his decision and give them a chance,” she added.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “Whatever happened yesterday never happened in the last 70 years. They were throwing papers at the Speaker. It is most unfortunate. I do not agree with it, comparing those people with pocketmaar (pickpocket).”
“Whatever decision Speaker takes, we will accept it but I would like to request you that such misconduct should not happen in the House,” he added.
Following this, Solanki announced that the panel headed by the Speaker will look into the instances of indiscipline. As disruptions continued, the House was adjourned for a short duration.
When the House met again, The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 were passed amid sloganeering by the Opposition members.
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