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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Speaker cracks the whip on erring MPs

Chatterjee invokes his punitive powers for the first time in the face of continuous disruptions in the House, reports Anil Anand.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2007 22:40 IST
Anil Anand
Anil Anand
Hindustan Times

Visibly upset on disruption of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Indo-US nuclear agreement, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee finally decided to crack the whip in the face of continuous disruptions on Tuesday.

An unrelenting Kerala MP PC Thomas was named by him and asked to leave the House for persistently disobeying the chair.

The Speaker invoked his punitive powers for the first time in the 14th Lok Sabha after all his pleas to Thomas for resuming his seat went in vain. In the aftermath of a joint protest by the state MPs on Railway Ministry’s decision to bifurcate Palghat division, which resulted in a 20-minute adjournment of the House, Thomas overlooked the chair’s directions and continued speaking on privilege motion.

At one stage, even an enraged leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee threatened to move a resolution for his expulsion if he failed to resume his seat. As all efforts failed, Chatterjee named him. “Under rule 373, I direct you to withdraw from the House and will not come back without my permission,” Speaker directed Thomas.

Finally, he left the House but not before the Speaker’s reprimand: “You are behaving abominably and in a disgusting manner. You have to go out of the House."

Earlier, taking serious note of disruption of Prime Minister's statement on the Indo-US nuclear deal on Monday,

Chatterjee said such a conduct cannot be permitted for ever. "I am extremely sorry that we witnessed extremely uproarious scenes when the PM was speaking and that can never be condoned," he said in a suo motu statement in the House.

The Speaker left no ambiguity in making his intention known about the events to follow if such disruptions continued. “ I wish to inform the MPs that in future all methods as are provided in our rules will be applied to enforce minimum discipline in the House, however painful that may be,” he warned.

The BJP-led Opposition staged a walkout as the Speaker criticised members' conduct. As soon as the House met after a brief adjournment in the morning for Question Hour, the Speaker made a suo motu statement.

"There can be no hindrance in debating all permissible issues and expression of one's views in any matter," he said adding : "But unfortunately, there is continuous violation of the rules and defiance of the Chair which cannot be permitted for ever."

First Published: Aug 14, 2007 21:57 IST