264 questions raised by suspended Opposition MPs deleted from records | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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264 questions raised by suspended Opposition MPs deleted from records

By, New Delhi
Dec 23, 2023 08:28 AM IST

A total of 264 questions raised by suspended Opposition MPs were deleted from the list of queries in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in three days during the recently-concluded winter session of Parliament. This was due to the suspension of 146 MPs who demanded a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the Parliament security breach.

A total of 264 questions raised by suspended Opposition MPs were deleted from the list of queries in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in three days, during the recently-concluded winter session of Parliament, according to information available on the websites of the two Houses.

New Delhi, Dec 21 (ANI): Proceedings of Lok Sabha are underway during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV) (ANI)
New Delhi, Dec 21 (ANI): Proceedings of Lok Sabha are underway during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV) (ANI)

Between December 19 and 21, which saw 54 out of a total 146 suspensions, 132 questions posed by the penalised members were deleted from the two Houses, respectively.

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Likewise, the names of the suspended lawmakers were removed from groups of members asking the same question to various ministers, the details shared by the two Houses on their respective websites showed.

A record 146 MPs were suspended from both Houses in a span of eight days – from December 14 to 21 – over their refusal to budge on their demand for a statement from Union home minister Amit Shah on the Parliament security breach on December 13. The cases of three Lok Sabha MPs and 11 Rajya Sabha MPs were referred to the privileges committee.

During a House session, Question Hour and Zero Hour permit MPs to question and express views against the government.

A circular issued by the Lok Sabha secretariat recently for the penalised MPs said any business listed under their names or notices tabled by them will not be considered during the suspension period. “No notice tabled by them is acceptable during the period of their suspension,” the circular said, as it listed a series of other restrictions on the suspended lawmakers.

The suspended members slammed the restrictions and the deletion of their queries in Parliament.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Kumar Jha, who was suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday for the remainder of the session, said: “Don’t confine our concerns to galleries, lobbies, or chambers. Instead, ensure that the essence of those concerns, shaped through a question, doesn’t fade away. If that essence diminishes, it signifies a critical concern for all of us.”

Jha said through a series of questions, he sought to know from the education ministry about the “large-scale displacement” of teachers in Delhi University. “With just one stroke, you have effectively terminated all their careers. This question holds immense significance, particularly concerning higher education and the idea of representation within it. However, it seems to have become the government’s prerogative or perhaps a desire on their part to suspend MPs solely to avoid critical questions about the government’s functioning,” he said.

CPI(M)’s John Brittas, another Rajya Sabha member who was also suspended on Monday, said: “The mass suspension and removal of questions completely truncated the so-called executive accountability to Parliament.”

Brittas said he had sought information from the law ministry on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.

Lok Sabha MP Danish Ali, who was recently expelled from the BSP for “anti-party activities” and suspended from the Lower House on Tuesday, said: “It’s really unfortunate because I was suspended for nothing. I did not go to the Well of the House, I did not hold a placard and they suspended me. So where should I go? These questions are not being asked on the day when we were suspended. These were fielded earlier. We had to give them in writing about two weeks earlier... This government does not think they are accountable to Parliament.”

Former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP national spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam said the Opposition was trying to hide their misconduct in the House. “It is unfair on the part of opposition parties to make such allegations. It’s baseless and they are trying to hide their misconduct in the House. A lawmaker’s primary responsibility is to discuss and debate on issues related to the people of this nation but unfortunately, their primary focus has become to disrupt Parliament and behave irresponsibly,” he said.

The number of MPs suspended during the winter session, which concluded on Thursday, a day ahead of schedule, was unprecedented, and far surpassed the 63 lawmakers who faced similar action in 1989 during a debate on a report on former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

“When MPs are suspended, the action imposes several disabilities on them. They are prohibited from posing questions and receiving answers during sessions. Their questions are excluded from the list of inquiries. Additionally, their notices are rejected, hindering their participation in committee activities. They’re not invited to committee meetings, tours, and related events. Moreover, they lose the daily allowances typically received for attending parliamentary sessions. These disabilities are inherent consequences of a member’s suspension,” former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary said.

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