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LS Speaker rejects privilege notices against PM

india Updated: Oct 24, 2008 14:47 IST

Left parties efforts to embarrass the government over the Indo-US nuclear deal were thwarted in the Lok Sabha on Friday, with Speaker Somnath Chatterjee rejecting notices of Breach of Privilege moved by them against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Holding that non-implementation of an assurance did not construe breach of privilege or contempt of the House, the Speaker dismissed the notices saying "I am not satisfied that a breach of privilege has been committed by the Prime Minister".

The notices were moved by Left members, who said the Prime Minister had assured on July 22 that he would come to Parliament before operationalising the 123 Agreement. They had contended that Singh had violated the assurance, which amounted to breach of privilege and contempt of the House.

Quoting rules and their interpretation, the Speaker said "I have disallowed the notices of question of privilege" and added that no reference, therefore, was required to be made to the Presiding Officer of Rajya Sabha, of which Singh was a member.

Observing that the Prime Minister was a member of Rajya Sabha, Chatterjee said neither House of Parliament could claim or exercise any authority over a member of the other House.

The procedure to be followed in such cases was to refer the matter to the Presiding Officer of the concerned House only if the Presiding Officer of the House where the matter has been raised was "satisfied" that a breach of privilege has been committed, the Speaker said.

He said he had given a hearing to CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia on the notices moved by the Left members and perused the contents of the extracts of the Prime Minister's speech of July 22.

Quoting interpretation of the rules, Chatterjee said non-implementation of an assurance given by a Minister on the floor of the House was "neither a breach of privilege nor a contempt of the House."

In view of this, the Speaker said he was not satisfied that the Prime Minister had committed a breach of privilege, and disallowed the Left-sponsored notices.