Oppn Decries 'Undemocratic' Suspension of MPs: Stalemate in Parliament Decoded
A stormy Winter Session of the Parliament is underway, rife with protests over the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs.
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A stormy Winter Session of the Parliament is underway, rife with disruptions and an uncanny frequency of adjournments. The primary reason behind the ruckus: the suspension of 12 Members of the Parliament (MPs), who belong to various Opposition parties.
Daily protests, including walkouts from the Rajya Sabha, are being meted out by the Opposition, which has demanded the revocation of the 'undemocratic suspension.' The Centre, however, has refused to budge on its decision.
Here's a lowdown on what has happened so far in the matter.
The Suspension of 12 MPs
The 12 Opposition MPs were suspended on 29 November, the first day of the Winter Session, for their allegedly unruly conduct in the House during the tumultuous Monsoon Session of the Parliament that was held earlier this year.
The motion moved by the government for the suspension of the MPs stated:
“…the House takes cognisance and strongly condemns the utter disregard to the authority of the chair, complete abuse of rules of the House persistently thereby wilfully obstructing the business of House through their, unprecedented acts of misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour and intentional attacks on security personnel on the last day of the 254th session of Rajya Sabha (monsoon session) i.e. August 11, 2021, thereby lowering the dignity of and bringing disrepute to this August House…”
The suspended MP include Congress's Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Hussain and Akhilesh Singh; Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai; Trinamool Congress's Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri; CPM's Elamaram Kareem; and CPI's Binoy Viswam.
Shortly after the suspension order was passed, the Opposition parties unitedly condemned the 'undemocratic' and 'unprecedented' move.
'Will Not Apologise': After the Suspension, a Stalemate in the Parliament
Leader of Opposition (LoP) Mallikarjun Kharge on 30 November, a day after the suspension, wrote to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha to reconsider the decision "in the larger interest of Parliamentary democracy."
"The Monsoon Session of the House concluded on 11 August 2021 and was prorogued by the President on 31 August 2021. If the House had only been adjourned and then reconvened without any prorogation, the argument of continuity would merit any justification."LoP Mallikarjun Kharge in the letter
However, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, in his response, said that he will not be considering the revocation request since the suspended MP's had committed 'sacrilege' of the House.
"The Members who have committed this sacrilege against the House, have not expressed any remorse. On the other hand, they are justifying it. So, I don't think the appeal of LoP (Leader of Opposition Kharge for revocation of suspension) is worth considering," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
As the parliamentary proceedings continued to be retarded due to protests over the suspension and the deadlock over the matter, Congress leader Kharge on Tuesday, 7 December, noted that the Opposition MPs will not apologise.
"We met the Chairman and asked him to revoke the suspension of the 12 MPs of the House so that they too could be a part of the discussions and the House function properly... But that talk didn't go through, a piece of advice was put forth that either all of them apologise or at least the LoP say that what happened was not right and they're seeking an apology. We said it's not right & it won't happen as they were suspended illegally," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Rendering a response, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary committee on Wednesday, said:
"We explained why they had to be suspended. The country has witnessed whatever took place. It's on record. If they apologise even today, we're ready to withdraw the suspension."
Sit-in Protest at Gandhi Statue Over 'Undemocratic' Suspension
Leaders from the Opposition have been holding a daily sit-in protest at the Gandhi statue at the Parliament premises, demonstrating against the suspension of 12 of their colleagues from the proceedings of the Houses.
The MPs and their colleagues have noted that the suspension will hamper the democratic proceedings of the Parliament.
"Undemocratic: Natural justice allows every accused to be heard. Suspended MPs were not. Unconstitutional: Suspension goes against the constitutional norms as adopted by Indian Republic Against Parliamentary Rules: No rule allows suspension on retrospective basis," TMC leader Priyanka Chaturvedi has said in a tweet following her suspension.
Meanwhile, the Congress's Abhishek Singhvi said in a tweet, said:
"By suspending 12 MPs from the Rajya Sabha, BJP has now gone ahead of the majority number. Can easily pass listed bills through the upper house now. This move has no parallel in history of parliamentary democracy and is entirely undemocratic, unlawful, and unconstitutional!"
"The Govt. has converted parliament in to a place for mockery. No discussion, no debates, Opposition silenced. Now they suspend 12 members including me. We raised the concerns of the annadatas, Defence employees, Insuarance employees. It is our duty. We will be with the masses," CPI leader Binoy Viswam had stated shortly after his suspension.
The Opposition MPs will be boycotting the Rajya Sabha for the entire day on 8 December, in protest against the suspension, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has indicated.
(With inputs from ANI)
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