Speaker seeks action against unruly MPs
Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee refers 32 LS members of Parliament to the Privileges Committee for their ‘disorderly conduct’.Updated: May 02, 2008, 01:27 IST
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has referred to the Privileges Committee cases of as many as 32 Lok Sabha members, mainly belonging to the Opposition, for "disorderly conduct" in the House.
The rare action has been taken by Chatterjee anguished over repeated disruptions in the House. The immediate provocation was the incidents of April 24 which saw Opposition members storming the well and shouting slogans without paying heed to the Chair.
Protests in the House that day were prompted by the NDA agitation against the price rise which found its echo in the Rajya Sabha as well after the opposition members formed a human chain outside the Parliament complex to denounce government's failure to check the price spiral.
Members whose cases have been referred to the Privileges Committee for "examination, investigation and report" include BJP members Shahnawaz Hussain, P.S. Gadhavi, M.A. Kharabela Swain, Kishan Singh Sangwan and Kiran Maheswari.
The list also includes Chandrakant Khaire, Kalpana Ramesh Narhire (both Shiv Sena), Rattan Singh Ajnala and Sukhdeo Singh Libra (both SAD), Tathagatha Satpathy (BJD) and Brajesh Pathak (BSP).
The Speaker referred the matter to the Privileges Committee on Wednesday when some noisy scenes were witnessed during Zero Hour, prompting Chatterjee to observe that the occasion had turned into a "torture hour".
At one point, he had told agitated Samajwadi Party members that they cannot threaten the Chair.
Chatterjee proceeded against the BSP’s Pathak for his disorderly conduct in the House on April 24 by not allowing Steel and Fertiliser Minister Ramvilas Paswan to reply to his own supplementary.
This is for the first time that the Speaker has taken such a serious view of unruly scenes in the House and is acting tough to send a message that "enough is enough" and discipline and decorum should be maintained at all costs.
His earlier attempts to ensure "no work no pay" for members could not materialise as it failed to find favour with the floor leaders.
With several of its members being pulled up for "disorderly conduct" in the Lok Sabha, the BJP sought to put the onus of smooth conduct of Parliament on the government.
"For smooth conduct of the House, the government has to be responsive. Opposition will be responsible when the government is responsive," BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Prakash Javadekar said. The present situation is that the allies and supporters of the government itself disrupt proceedings of Parliament, he said in apparent reference to frequent disruptions by the Left parties.
Javadekar, however, refrained from commenting on Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's decision.
"I don't want to give a public comment. We will raise it at the appropriate forum at the appropriate time," he said when asked about the Speaker's decision.