In a rare move, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday expunged her own remarks made a day earlier against protesting Congress members in the House and said she was “sorry”.
The Speaker took the action after the leader of the group Mallikarjun Kharge raked up the issue, saying it was not right on the part of the chair to make such remarks.
“I did not take the name of (any) party... I will definitely expunge the remark... I am sorry,” she said, referring to the remark she made when the Congress members were protesting in the well of the House. Kharge said the Speaker’s remarks were unfortunate and it hurt them. “....(The remarks) were not proper,” he noted.
“We are bringing up issues in national interest” whether about Union minister VK Singh or Arunachal Pradesh or any other matter, Kharge said, adding that whatever problems have happened, the government was responsible.
Mahajan said: “They (Congress members) are hurt for some reason. It would be good if they also think that for their actions some others might have also been hurt”. Former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash C Kashyap said the Speaker had the powers to expunge the remarks of members including her own.
“I don’t think this has happened for the first time. However, it is a thing not often documented. Sometimes there may be a slip of tongue and something may have been spoken which is not warranted. I don’t think there is any need for media hype on this.”
S Bal Sheka, another former secretary general, said he had not come across any such incident in his 35 years in Parliament.
“Neither have I read (about it). It is perfectly in order. This power may not have been executed by any other Speaker. It shows the fairness of the Speaker that she removed it on her own,” he said.
Dissatisfied with the Speaker’s response when Congress members began to protest, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said such actions by the Opposition were not allowed in the House.
“Nobody can question the conduct of the Speaker in the House,” the minister said.