8 MPs, including KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem, suspended for unruly behaviour

PTI20-09-2020_000061A
Parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session.
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New Delhi: Eight opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha, including TMC leader Derek O'Brien and Sanjay Singh of AAP, were on Monday suspended for the remainder of the Monsoon session of Parliament for "unruly behaviour" during the passage of two farm bills, leading to protests and washing out of proceedings.

The suspended members refused to leave the House which witnessed multiple adjournments.

A motion for the suspension of the eight including Rajeev Satav, Syed Nasir Hussain and Ripun Bora (all Cong), Dola Sen (TMC), K K Ragesh and Elamaram Kareen (all CPM) was moved by the government and approved by a voice vote in the House.

This came after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected a notice for a no-confidence motion against deputy chairman Harivansh as it was not in proper format and did not give a 14-day notice period.

Opposition members, objecting to the manner in which the farm bills were being passed, had on Sunday stormed the well of the House and when their demand for voting wasn't met, they tore papers, climbed on tables, shouted slogans, and even threw the rule book at Harivansh, who was presiding at that time.

Condemning their behaviour, Naidu said Harivansh had later informed him that he was "abused with objectionable words" and "would have been harmed also."

Soon after the House adopted by voice vote the motion for the suspension of eight MPs, the Chairman asked them to leave the House but they continued to say, protesting against the ruling.

Earlier when Naidu was condemning their behaviour on Sunday, few opposition MPs raised a point of order and contested his version. Naidu asked them not to disturb but when Derek O'Brien persisted, the chariman said he was naming him.

When an MP is named by the presiding officer, he has to withdraw from proceedings of the House for the rest of the day.

After the motion for suspending 8 MPs was adopted, he called for taking up of call attention motion on GST compensation to states where O'Brien, Ragesh, and Kareem were listed as movers.

But with members protesting, he moved on to the next listed business saying they were not interested.

However, none of the 8 members suspended left the House and instead protested. They were joined by other opposition MPs, leading to frequent adjournments and ultimately washing out proceedings without transacting any business.

Soon after the Zero Hour, Naidu said he was "pained" at the happenings during the passage of The Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

He said some members came to the well and hurled papers, rule book at the Deputy Chairman and abused him. Some members were "climbing on the Secretary General's table, dancing, shouting in the well, tearing papers, breaking mikes, obstructing Deputy Chairman from his duties, throwing papers."

"Is it parliamentary standard," he asked and told members to do some introspection.

The Chairman said Harivansh was physically threatened and, "if marshals had not been called on time what would have happened to the Deputy Chairman."

Such behaviour, he said, was "very unfortunate, unacceptable and condemnable" and one that "tarnished the image of Parliament", particularly of the House of Elders.

Naidu said if the opposition, which wanted voting on a resolution to send the two bills to a select committee of the House, had numbers they should have voted.

"Deputy Chairman (on Sunday) also stated that you please go to your seat he will conduct voting," he said.

Naidu said he had received a letter expressing no confidence against the deputy chairman from the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and 46 other members alleging that Harivansh had violated established parliamentary procedure while conducting proceedings on Sunday.

"I have gone through the entire proceedings of the House yesterday. In light of the allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition and other members, I observed that the deputy chairman had persistently requested members to go to their seats, participate in debate and move amendments.

"Obviously in view of the continuous disruption of the House the division could not have taken place... Certainly, the conduct of some members grossly crossed all barriers of parliamentary decorum and etiquette and thereby bringing down prestige of the House," he said.

He said after carefully going through provisions of the Constitution, rules of House, and past precedence, it is "observed that at the outset that the motion is not in a proper format."

"As per provision of Article 90(C) of the Constitution, a notice period of 14 days is required for moving a resolution of the motion. As the House is going to be adjourned sine die on October 1, 2020, as per the current schedule, the notice does not complete the required period of 14 days. Hence I rule that motion given by LoP and other members is not admissible," he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a resolution that eight members be suspended for the remaining part of the session "for their unruly behaviour especially with the chair."

"And their gross disorderly conduct is in the violation of rules and etiquette of Rajya thereby bringing disrepute to the House and causing insult to the office of deputy chairman," he said reading out the motion.

Amid protests, the motion was passed by voice vote.

Naidu asked suspended MPs to leave but they did not do so even when proceedings were adjourned.

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