11 Suspended Rajya Sabha Members Get Green Light to Attend Presidential Address

The Rajya Sabha members had been found guilty of breach of privilege by the House panel

The Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankhar, made a significant decision on Tuesday by lifting the suspension of 11 members of the House. These members had been found guilty of breach of privilege by the House panel. The suspension was revoked to allow them to attend the Special Address by President Droupadi Murmu on January 31, 2024.

Rajya Sabha

Background of Suspension: During the Winter Session of Parliament last month, a total of 146 Members of Parliament (MPs) were suspended, including 11 from Rajya Sabha. The suspension was a consequence of their involvement in protests demanding a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding a security breach in Parliament.

Committee of Privileges Findings: The Committee of Privileges of Rajya Sabha found 11 members guilty of breach of privilege and contempt of the Council. The members were Debi Mather Hisham, Dr. L Hanumanthaiah, Neeraj Dangi, Rajmani Patel, Kumar Ketkar, GC Chandrashekhar, Binoy Viswam, Sandosh Kumar P, M Mohamed Abdulla, Dr. John Brittas, and AA Rahim. The committee recommended that the suspension period already served by the members be considered sufficient punishment.

Revocation of Suspension: Chairman Rajya Sabha invoked his authority under Rules 202 and 266 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States to revoke the suspension. This decision was made to allow the members to participate in the Special Address by the President on January 31, 2024.

Importance of Special Address: The Special Address by President Droupadi Murmu is a significant event, especially as it marks the first time in the new building of the Parliament. Considering the importance of this occasion, the Chairman decided to revoke the suspension to enable the members to attend.

Suspension during Winter Session: Out of the 146 suspended MPs, 132 were initially suspended for the remainder of the session. Their suspension was automatically lifted with the conclusion of the session. However, the 11 Rajya Sabha and 3 Lok Sabha MPs faced further scrutiny by the privileges committees of both Houses.

Parallel Development in Lok Sabha: The Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha had earlier lifted the suspension of the 3 Lok Sabha MPs on January 12. In a parallel development, the suspension of the 11 Rajya Sabha MPs was revoked, ensuring uniformity in the treatment of suspended members across both Houses.

Speaker’s Statement on Opposition’s Demand: Addressing the Opposition’s demand for a statement from the Home Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla clarified that the security within the House falls under the purview of the secretariat. He emphasized that the government would not be allowed to intervene, stating, “The government cannot intervene in (responsibilities of) Lok Sabha secretariat. We will not allow that either.”

Allegations of Strategic Move by Opposition: The Opposition had raised concerns, alleging that the suspension of MPs was a strategic move by the government to pass crucial bills without proper discussion. This controversy unfolded in the Lok Sabha chamber when intruders sprayed colored smoke, drawing attention to issues such as Manipur violence, unemployment, and farmers’ problems.

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