Jailed former telecom minister A Raja and Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, both currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail on corruption charges, have drawn Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar's attention on their 'forced absence' from the House.
In separate letters to the speaker, both of them raised separate demands. Kalmadi has expressed his desire to attend the Monsoon session of Parliament, but Raja has sought condonation of his absence from the House.
The speaker's office confirmed receiving the letters, but made it clear that it did not have the powers to allow an MP lodged in a jail to attend the session.
"It is for the court to decide, and we have no role in the matter," said a Lok Sabha official. He pointed out that former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda was allowed to attend three sessions last year by the special court hearing the corruption cases against him.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP and a former naxalite, Kameshwar Baitha, who had won his seat in the 2009 general elections, was allowed by the Patna high court to take oath and attend the first session of the current Lok Sabha. He was granted bail last month.
Since Raja has sought condonation of his absence, due to "circumstances beyond his control," his request was within the ambit of the Speaker's domain and that would be placed before the House panel, which decides MPs leaves, the official said.
According to parliamentary rules, any MP who remains absent from the House for 60 days consecutively, without the permission of the House, stands disqualified.
Currently four MPs belonging to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are in jail on corruption charges. Raja, Kalmadi and Koda are from the Lok Sabha and DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP.