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Suspension of 7 Congress Lok Sabha MPs withdrawn

Seven Congress MPs were suspended from the Lok Sabha on March 5 for “gross misconduct” after they trooped to the Well of the House and snatched papers from the Speaker’s table.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 11, 2020 3:12:19 pm
Suspension of Congress MPs in Lok Sabha withdrawn Five of the seven suspended Congress MPs outside Parliament in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

The suspension of seven Congress MPs from the Lok Sabha was withdrawn on Wednesday. It comes a week after a motion on the same was passed by a voice vote amid protests by opposition members in the House.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had adjourned the House for an hour till 1.30 pm after uproar over the issue. Congress MPs had demanded the suspension order be rescinded.

The Congress leaders were suspended on March 5 for “gross misconduct” after they trooped to the Well of the House and snatched papers from the Speaker’s table. The suspension was to last for the remaining period of the ongoing budget session, till April 3.

Gaurav Gogoi, T N Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, Manickam Tagore, Rajmohan Unnithan, Benny Behanan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla were among the suspended MPs.

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The Congress had reacted to the order, saying it was a “dictatorial decision” and motivated by “revenge politics”.

Suspension of 7 Congress Lok Sabha MPs withdrawn Opposition members protest in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (LSTV/PTI Photo)

Why were seven Congress MPs suspended from Lok Sabha?

The Congress members were protesting remarks made by Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MP Hanuman Beniwal. He had called for a probe into the spread of coronavirus over the possibility that it could have “originated from Sonia Gandhi’s home”. His remark came after several people who arrived in India from Italy tested positive for the virus.

The party has also been protesting the Delhi riots in both Houses of Parliament, calling for a debate on the same. It has insisted that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, under whose ministry the Delhi Police functions, be present for the debate.

Explained: How Lok Sabha Speaker suspends a member of Parliament

Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business says: “The Speaker, if is of the opinion that the conduct of any Member is grossly disorderly, may direct such Member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any Member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”

To deal with more recalcitrant Members, the Speaker may take recourse to Rules 374 and 374A. Rule 374 says:

“(1) The Speaker may, if 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.

“(2) 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: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.

“(3) A member suspended under this rule shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.”

Read our explainer on how an MP is suspended from Parliament

Congress, BJP react to suspension order

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said, “All the Opposition (parties)… we are on the same page… none of the Opposition parties will allow this government which is hell-bent on throttling the voice of the Opposition parties. We wouldn’t budge from our own demand that the Delhi riot issue has to be discussed inside Parliament.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, meanwhile, had told reporters: “We will seek termination of the member’s membership. What the Congress did in Lok Sabha showed their utmost disrespect to the Chair.”

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