Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has referred to the privileges committee the case of Assam MP Bwiswmuthiary, who had taken off his trademark jacket and sandals while squatting in the well of the House to protest the recent violence in his state.
The move came even as the CPI-M, the party Chatterjee belonged to before his recent expulsion, accused him of discriminating against it in the House.
Virtually echoing what the BJP had said about Chatterjee some months back, in their first open and all out attack on their former colleague, the CPM’s Mohammad Salim and Basudeb Acharia said that the Speaker on Wednesday suspended one of its MPs, Abdullahakutty from Kerala, for a day for waving a placard but failed to act against those who continued to be in the well of the House around the same time. No action was taken even on earlier occasions they said, in reference to the Bwismuthiary case.
“Discretionary powers cannot be used on the basis of discrimination,” said Salim. “The Chair should not discriminate,” he said to queries on whether he was accusing the Speaker of bias.
The reference of the Bwismuthiary case to the privileges panel fuelled speculation that the Speaker’s move was in reaction to the CPM charge. But sources said the presiding officer had on Tuesday taken cognisance of the MP’s action and referred the matter to the panel.