Kerala Speaker reprimands MLA, again

Congress MLA V T Balram today received a second admonishment from Kerala Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan for making House proceedings a topic of discussion on Facebook.

The Speaker had reprimanded the MLA on March 5 for posting the draft of a private member's Bill, which he planned to present in the assembly, on Facebook to elicit public opinion before its draft was distributed to House members.

Later, participating in a debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address, Balram had indirectly criticised the Speaker's ruling, saying the use of social networks should not be discouraged.

Describing the member's remark as "unwarranted," he warned the member against misleading the people and the House by creating an impression that the Chair was against social networks and the use of technology.

He said the assembly was using advanced technology in all forms and webcasting of proceedings had begun with this session. All MLAs had been provided with computers and I-pads. Work was progressing at the Legislature Secretariat to receive questions by members online.

However, the Speaker said the members were bound to follow certain rules and procedures and thereby keep the dignity of the House.

He hoped that Balram, being a first-timer in the House, would follow the rulings of the Chair.

Referring to the ongoing discussion in the social network on the issue after his March 5 ruling, Karthikeyan said it was "undesirable" to hold such discussions on sites about House procedures.

The debate would create misunderstanding among the people about the proceedings and a member should not encourage it. Social networks should not be used to "belittle" democratic institutions in the eyes of the public, the Speaker warned.

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