Why 92 Opposition MPs Suspended from Parliament in 2023 Winter Session?

92 Opposition MPs Suspended from Parliament in 2023 Winter Session

In an unprecedented development, 78 MPs of opposition, including both Lok Sabha (33) and Rajya Sabha (45) members, were suspended yesterday for staging protests in demand of a statement by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the security breach in Parliament last week.

14 MPs had been suspended last week, also for demanding a statement on the security breach. So, this takes the total number of MPs suspended in this session to 92.

In Lok Sabha, 30 MPs have been suspended for the remainder of the session and 3 have been suspended till the privileges committee submits a report on their conduct.

As for Rajya Sabha, 35 members have been suspended for the rest of session and 11 till a report by privileges panel.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien had been suspended after he demanded a discussion on the breach.

The suspended MPs from Lok Sabha include Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha, and Gaurav Gogoi, deputy leader of the party in the House. Trinamool MPs Kalyan Banerjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Saugata Ray and Satabdi Roy, and DMK members A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran are also on the list.

In Rajya Sabha, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala, DMK’s Kanimozhi and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha are among those suspended.

Why 92 Opposition MPs Suspended from Parliament in 2023 Winter Session?

The reason behind the suspension of 47 Opposition MPs for the rest of the Winter Session was cited as “misconduct” and failure to adhere to the directions of the Chair. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved the motion for suspension, asserting that members had been violating established rules.

Joshi elaborated on the misconduct, stating, “This House has taken a serious note of the misconduct of several members, including the display of play cards in the House.” MPs had climbed onto the Speaker’s podium to raise slogans, contributing to the disorder in the House.

Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business states that in case the Lok Sabha Speaker is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is “grossly disorderly”, he or she may direct that member to “withdraw immediately from the House”.

The member is required to “do so forthwith”, and stay away from the “remainder of the day’s sitting”.

The Speaker may invoke Rule 374A in case of “grave disorder TAS occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House, persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise…”.

The member concerned, “on being named by the Speaker, stands automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less”.

This clause was incorporated in the Rule Book on December 5, 2001, and helps the Speaker skirt around the necessity of moving and adopting a motion for suspension.

While the Speaker is empowered to place a member under suspension, the authority for revocation of this order is not vested in her. It is for the House, if it so desires, to resolve on a motion to revoke the suspension.

Likewise, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered – under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book — to “direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House. “Any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.”

The 63 MPs were suspended when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister. With more than 400 MPs, the Congress government then enjoyed a brute majority, much like the BJP now.

On March 15, 1989, the Lok Sabha witnessed an uproar over the tabling of the Justice Thakkar Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (commission of inquiry under Justice MP Thakkar, set up in 1984)

However, the key difference is that these MPs had been suspended for the remainder of the week, which was three days, while this time, the lawmakers have been barred for the remainder of the House session. Also, the 1989 suspension was revoked a day later, after the members apologised to the Speaker.

Update on Parliament Security Breach

Parliament Security Breach 92 Opposition MPs Suspended from Parliament in 2023 Winter Session

On the Opposition’s demand for the Home Minister’s statement, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has maintained that security inside the House is under the secretariat’s purview and that it will not let the Centre intervene. “The government cannot intervene in (responsibilities of) Lok Sabha secretariat. We will not allow that either,” he said last week.

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