’Breach of privilege’ probe against 12 opposition MPs against democratic heritage of Parliament: CPI MP Binoy Viswam

New Delhi [India], February 23 (ANI): Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam on Thursday raised an objection to Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar referring the alleged "breach of privilege" against 12 MPs to the privilege committee and said that it is against the "democratic heritage" of Parliament.

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar has given his consent for the privilege committee to examine the conduct of 12 MPs from the opposition.

He further urged Vice President Dhankhar to withdraw the reference and convene a meeting of the leaders of all opposition parties.

According to a Rajya Sabha bulletin, nine of the MPs are from the Congress and three from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

"I write this letter to raise my reservation on you referring to the question of alleged ‘breach of privilege’ under rule 203 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business against 12 Members of the Parliament. I strongly believe this move is in violation of the cherished ideals of our country and the democratic heritage of the parliament," the Rajya Sabha MP said in his letter.

He said that the Rajya Sabha Rules of Procedure provides rule 267, which is of similar nature that of the Adjournment Motion under the Chapter IX of the Lok Sabha Rules.

"It serves as an important means for the opposition to raise issues that concern the interest of the general public; however, the current dispensation has failed to conduct a single discussion under this rule. This is a severe cause for concern as it indicates a trend of the declining willingness of the government to debate and discuss in parliament, the very purpose this institution exists for. The above-mentioned act of referring a question of privilege by the Rajya Sabha Chairman is unheard of and that too for raising a notice under Rule 267," he said in a letter.

The Rajya Sabha MP said that he fails to understand as to how parliamentary privilege is being violated when a Member of Parliament is exercising their right and puts forward a notice as per the rule book which regulates them.

"I further remind you of the words of your revered former Colleague, Arun Jaitley ji, ‘Parliament’s job is to conduct discussions. But many a time, Parliament is used to ignore issues, and, in such situations, obstruction of Parliament is in favour of democracy. Therefore, parliamentary obstruction is not undemocratic’." The CPI MP said.

The MP urged to Rajya Sabha Chairman to withdraw his referral immediately and convene a meeting of Senior Members from all parties in order to find ways to resolve the issue.

"Considering the above, I urge you to withdraw your referral and immediately convene a meeting of Senior Members from all parties in order to get past this deadlock with regard to Rule 267 in the interest of democratic discourse," he added.

Notably, continuing the action against unruly MPs in the Rajya Sabha following the suspension of Congress MP Rajni Patil for the entire Budget Session, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar has given his consent for the privilege committee to examine the conduct of 12 MPs from the opposition.

The names of the Rajya Sabha MPs include those from the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in particular. These 12 MPs are Sanjay Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil, Sushil Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Kumar Pathak, Naranbhai J Rathwa, Syed Nasir Hussain, Kumar Ketkar, Imran Pratapgarhi, L Hanumanthaiah, Phulo Devi Netam, Jebi Mather Hisham and Ranjeet Ranjan.

In addition to this, there has been another privilege notice against AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh for repeatedly submitting a notice for suspension of the Zero Hour in Parliament to discuss the Adani stock issue. In fact, during the first part of the session, the Rajya Sabha chairman had pulled up Sanjay Singh for giving identical notices.

With the opposition parties demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Adani stock matter, the Upper House of Parliament witnessed a massive ruckus in the recently concluded first half of the Budget Session. Ruckus and sloganeering took place in the middle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech for the Reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President address.

After repeated warnings to the opposition members, the Rajya Sabha chairman had suspended Congress MP Rajni Patil for recording mobile videos of the ruckus.

After the recess, the second part of the Budget Session will resume on March 13 and will continue till April 6. (ANI)