The Winter Session of the Parliament took off on a bitter note as 12 Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended on Monday for the remaining part of the session. The action followed the violent scenes witnessed on the last day of the Monsoon Session on August 11.
The letter written by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asking for moving a motion of suspension of the 12 MPs read, “The 254th Session of Rajya Sabha would indeed be counted as most reprehensible and shameful session in our Parliamentary history. The disgrace caused is irreversible and no amount of condemning and repent can undo the damage it has done.”
“The unruly and reprehensible acts viz standing on the table, throwing files at the Chair, obstructing the Parliamentary Staff from performing their duties, compounded by violent behaviour by some of the Members of Parliament, terrifying and injuring the staff members, has brought disrepute to Indian democracy. These unfathomable circumstances demand exemplary remedies, which would not only act as deterrence against any such future unruly and violent incidents but also endeavour to restore the credibility of Parliament in the eyes of its electorate,” it read.
“It is our bounden duty to set the highest standard of personal and professional conduct and any deviance therefrom should invite strictest measures,” according to the letter.
Rule 256 says suspension to be taken for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session. The Rajya Sabha chairman had offered to form a committee in the last session to discuss action, but many opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, and DMK, had categorically refused to become a part of this committee.
‘Chronology to this behaviour’
Government sources say there is a chronology to this behaviour of the Opposition, especially what happened during the last Monsoon Session.
To begin with, the Prime Minister was not allowed to introduce his Council of Ministers who had taken oath in July. Multiple Parliament bulletins showed how the proceedings were being disturbed. The intent of the Opposition was very clear that they would not want the House to proceed in the monsoon session, sources added.
Papers were snatched from Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s hands on 22 July in the Rajya Sabha. Even that day, 24 MPs were named for unruly behaviour.
Scenes of whistling were also noticed for the first time. Video-recording of proceedings which were even uploaded on the internet, flinging papers at the Chair, dancing while standing on the table and holding placards in front of MPs who were talking were also witnessed during the Monsoon Session. During the entire session, July 30, August 4, August 10 and August 11 recorded some of the worst conduct.
The government, however, says that the suspension was based on what transpired on August 11 and the move for action was on the first available opportunity.
What transpired on August 11
Here’s what had transpired on the floor of the House on August 11 for which the 12 MPs have been suspended.
-Dola Sen of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) put the hanging loop made up of fabric/scarf (resembling noose) around the neck of a fellow MP Shanta Chhetri in the gangway and held the other end of the loop in her hand and shouted slogans. She further displayed the loop high in the air that was worn by Chhetri. Later, holding a rope in her hand with the other end of the rope loop tied around Chhetri, Sen climbed to the front row seat.
-Sen also obstructed the way of and pushed BJP MPs Piyush Goyal and Prahlad Joshi who were coming from the chairman’s chamber to take their respective seats. She also argued and pushed women officials of Parliament Security Service.
-Chhattisgarh Congress MPs Phulo Devi Netam and Chhaya Verma tore papers and threw them towards the Table of the House. Later Congress’ Syed Nasir Hussain, TMC’s Arpita Ghosh and Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi followed suit.
-CPI leaders Binoy Viswam, Elamaram Kareem, Congress’ Rajmani Patel and Shiv Sena’s Anil Desai snatched papers folders kept on the Table of the House.
-Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh made a video of the security staff and the Table.
-Congress MP Syed Nasir Hussain pushed Sanjay Raut towards security officials cordoning the Table and subsequently pulled him back. They were joined by Elamaran Kareem, Ripun Bora, Binoy Vishwam and Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
-Congress MP Ripun Bora climbed on the LED TV stand installed on the left side of the Chair ((near the seat of LoP).
-Elamaran Kareem manhandled and severely choked the neck of a male marshal. He also dragged the security official in order to break the cordon.
-Phulo Devi and Chhaya Verma also pulled and dragged a woman marshal and assaulted her.
-Syed Nasir Hussain and Elamaran Kareem caught hold of the shoulder of one male marshal and tried to drag him out of the security cordon, who was trying to protect the lady marshal.
-Ripun Bora again climbed on the LED TV stand installed on the left side of the Chair.
Action against Congress MP Pratap Bajwa and AAP MP Sanjay Singh were not taken as they misbehaved on 10 August. While Singh had climbed the reporters’ table and waved black flags, Bajwa had flung a file at the Chair.