12 Rajya Sabha MPs suspended for causing ruckus in previous Parliament session
- Pralhad Joshi moved a motion that was adopted by voice vote
- Some opposition MPs climbed on a Rajya Sabha officials' table, raised slogans, and proceeded to throw files
- The suspension has been dubbed "undemocratic" by opposition members
After the House passed a motion moved by the government for their suspension under Rule 256 for "unruly and violent behaviour" during the monsoon session, 12 Rajya Sabha members were suspended for the remainder of the winter session, which began on Monday. The suspension was dubbed "undemocratic" by opposition parties.
After parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion that was adopted by voice vote, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh announced the suspension of six Congress MPs, Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Hussain, and Akhilesh Singh; two of TMC, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri; Elamaram Kareem of the CPM; two Shiv Sena MPs, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil and Desai Binoy Viswam of the CPI for indiscipline in the last session of the House.
The motion moved by the government said, “…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…”
When the House began a discussion on farmers' protests against new reform laws on August 11, the last day of the monsoon session, some opposition MPs climbed on a Rajya Sabha officials' table, raised slogans, and proceeded to throw files. Later, opposition members staged a walkout from the House, protesting hurried bill passage and the rollout of security personnel inside the chamber, despite the government accusing them of mistreating marshals.
The suspension has been dubbed "undemocratic" by opposition members, who claim the government's motion is "unprecedented" and "violates the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha)".
According to a statement released by the leader of the opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, the floor leaders of the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha will meet on Tuesday to discuss the next steps. The DMK, SP, NCP, Shiv Sena, RJD, CPI, CPM, IUML, LJD, MDMK, TRS, and AAP have all expressed support for the statement.
According to the government, the incidents of "indiscipline were unprecedented”.
“The opposition members were given a chance to apologise, but they did not; they even turned down the opportunity to be part of a committee suggested by the Chairman to probe the August 11 incidents,” a government functionary told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.
A second government functionary responded to a question about why the government did not take action against the MPs who caused a ruckus on August 10 by saying, “August 11 was the last day of the monsoon session.” If the government had moved the motion for suspension on August 11, the MPs accused of causing uproar would have received only a one-day suspension under Rule 256, which states that they can be suspended for the duration of the session in which the motion is moved.
While some opposition MPs claimed they were not given the opportunity to present their side of the storey before being suspended, a third government official said that under Rule 256 of the Rajya Sabha's Rules of Procedure, the Chairman has the authority to take action against acts of misconduct such as disregarding the chair's authority, abusing the rules of the council by insistently and wilfully impeding the council's business.
The government also claimed that "20-30 names were mentioned for disputing the house in the day's bulletin" from the start of the monsoon session until the last day.
“From not allowing the Prime Minister to introduce ministers; to snatching papers from IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw the opposition in a planned way decided they won’t allow the house to function. There were scenes never seen before — MPs whistling, recording proceedings and putting it on YouTube, and covering the faces of MPs with placards while they spoke,” said the first functionary.
The government also mentioned the complaints of at least two marshals who claimed they were injured while deterring MPs from breaking the security cordon around the Chair.
“They will have to consider apologising and there also needs be a re-look at the rules to ensure these incidents do not recur”, the first person added.