Updated: November 30, 2021 11:58:49 am
With two of its MPs suspended from the Rajya Sabha for “unruly” conduct during the Monsoon Session, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday termed the move as “undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional”, while demanding that the footage of the alleged acts of disruptions be released.
TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, its deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, claimed even the House Business Advisory Committee (BAC) was not informed that the government was planning to bring a motion to get 12 Opposition MPs, including TMC’s Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, suspended for the rest of the Winter Session.
The members had been suspended under Rule 256 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha.
“It was not even discussed in the BAC. It was brought in the House without giving the Opposition any chance to present their side. The government used its brute majority to get it passed. We were told that a committee was constituted by the chairman which has submitted its report. But we do not know, it was done behind our backs. No opportunity was given to the persons against whom allegations were made. It is a denial of the principle of natural justice,” Roy told reporters.
Sen, who was suspended even in September 2020 for “unruly behaviour during the passage of farm laws”, told indianexpress.com that the government will not be able to silence dissenting voices through suspensions.
“We are becoming used to such suspensions. This is complete lawlessness. It’s very unfortunate and undemocratic. They are trying to undermine our voices but they won’t be able to do so, come what may. We feel proud since we have been suspended for standing with farmers and the marginalised,” Sen said.
Roy said the TMC will explore the available options under the rules to seek a review of the suspension order. “If there are no provisions for a review, we will consider other alternatives,” he said. Asked why TMC’s name was missing from the joint statement against the suspension issued by 14 opposition parties, Roy said, “Neither did they consult us before issuing the statement, nor did we reach out to them.”
During the day, the TMC also did not attend the meeting of opposition floor leaders held by the Congress. “So, what if we did not attend the meeting today? If there are common issues, and the intent to fight together, then things may also happen unitedly. No one knows what the future holds,” he said.
Roy demanded that the footage of the Rajya Sabha proceedings that captured the alleged unruly scenes should be released.
“Members have the right to dissent and dissent is the essence of democracy. Our member, Shanta Chhetri, was in the well protesting, she lost consciousness, had to be rushed to the hospital. But she has been expelled. Is this justice and fair play?” Roy asked.
Shanta Chhetri told The Indian Express, “While we were protesting that day, I felt unwell, became nearly unconscious, and was rushed to RML Hospital. And today, they ended up suspending us without even giving us a chance to keep our version. Even the motion to suspend us was brought without any consultation. This is our punishment for raising the issues that affect the masses, be it farm bills or Pegasus. This is dictatorship.”
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