The Lok Sabha privileges committee will meet on November 16 to finalise its report on envoy Ronen Sen’s use of the phrase “headless chickens” in the context of the controversy raised over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
But after Sen appeared before the committee two days back, sources had said he was unlikely to be proceeded against in view of his unconditional apology and his claim that the remarks were not directed against MPs. Sen will appear before the Rajya Sabha privileges committee on November 2.
On Wednesday, the privileges committee, headed by Kishore Chandra Deo, met with a three point agenda – finalising the report for the Speaker on the disqualification of three BSP MPs-Mohammad Shahid Akhlaque, Ramakant Yadav and Balchandra Yadav; going into the issue of codifying MPs’ privileges; and discussing the extent to which the RTI can apply when it comes to various agencies seeking parliamentary papers.
Sources said the panel did not go into the merit of the disqualification of MPs case nor recommend any action as its proceedings were more in the nature of fact finding.
“It is for the Speaker to decide whether or not they should be disqualified,” said a source.
The meeting also took stock of the responses it has received from various parties, leaders, experts and foreign Parliaments, including Australia and the UK, on the issue of codifying MPs privileges and has asked the secretariat to tabulate them.
Though the idea was rejected in 1992, the panel decided to revisit the issue on whether there is need to remove misconceptions that MPs are above the law by defining their privileges.
At present only Australia has a codified law in this regard. The idea was approved in 2001 in Britain but it remains to be implemented.
The panel is also going into the extent to which RTI can apply to information relating to Parliament, including depositions before and proceedings of standing committees and other panels. The Supreme Court's call for a standing committee report on OBC quota when it had not even been tabled was a case in point.
The committee on office of profit, which met this morning, has yet to define the term, it heard evidence from the northeastern states. The panel, which was set up to go into the three points raised by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam while returning the office of profit bill last year, may well have to seek another extension. Besides seeking a comprehensive definition, Kalam had also sought a fair and uniform criteria applicable to all states and UTs.
On November 6, the committee on misconduct of MPs will meet to go into the issue of defining misconduct.
It has sent a questionnaire to various leaders, parties and experts in this regard.