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Rajya Sabha privileges panel holds 12 MPs guilty of misconduct for causing disruptions, cautions them

The panel said the Council may consider discontinuance of suspension of Sanjay Singh with immediate effect.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 14:02 IST

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New Delhi: The Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday held 12 opposition MPs, including the AAP's Sanjay Singh, guilty of misconduct for disrupting House proceedings last August and cautioned them to desist from such behaviour in future.

In the report tabled in the Upper House of Parliament on Thursday, the privileges panel held AAP MP Sanjay Singh guilty of disregarding the directions of the Chairman.

It has accepted Singh's unconditional apology in the matter and recommended revocation of his suspension after considering that the punishment suffered by him was sufficient.

The AAP MP was suspended from the Rajya Sabha on July 24, 2023, through a motion, for the breach of privilege on account of wilfully disregarding the directions of the chair, repeatedly violating rules of the house and casting aspersions on the leader of the House.

"The committee concludes that the 12 members, namely Sanjay Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil, Sushil Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Kumar Pathak, Naranbhai J. Rathwa, L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Nasir Hussain, Kumar Ketkar, Phulo Devi Netam, Jebi Mather Hisham, Ranjeet Ranjan and Imran Pratapgarhi are held guilty of serious transgression of privileges and commission of contempt of the Council of States.

"The committee, accordingly, recommends that no action is warranted against Kumar Ketkar, Naranbhai J Rathwa and L Hanumanthaiah who have since retired from membership of the council.

"That Sanjay Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil, Sushil Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Kumar Pathak, Syed Nasir Hussain, Phulo Devi Netam, Jebi Mather Hisham, Ranjeet Ranjan and Imran Pratapgarhi should desist from indulging in such misconduct in future and scrupulously adhere to exemplary conduct and optimize their performance in the House," the panel said in its report.

The committee's report also stated that in view of the motion adopted by the Council on August 11 last year, "the suspension suffered by Sanjay Singh be treated as sufficient punishment and his suspension may be revoked with immediate effect with the hope and expectation that there will be scrupulous adherence to the accepted conduct regime in the House by him in future".

"The Committee requests the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to consider discontinuance of the suspension of Sanjay Singh without waiting for the Council to re-assemble for the ensuing Session." The panel, in another report, held that by outrageous misconduct of MPs, "not only the temple of democracy has been sacrileged but also the people's faith desecrated and constitutional ordainment disregarded".

"An unbecoming conduct of Member of Parliament by engaging in transgression and flouting of rules if countenanced would be no less than the death knell of democracy. Although the members concerned have tendered an apology, the committee is of the view that the same does not meet the criteria mentioned in the 75th Report of the committee for accepting them to be an unqualified apology.

"In any case, even an unqualified apology can only be a factor for sentencing and not for exoneration," the panel said.

In a separate report on the AAP's Sanjay Singh, the committee observed that the member indulged in a "highly indecorous and unbecoming conduct by trampling privileges of his fellow colleagues by disrupting the proceedings of the Council through his disorderly behaviour".

"Sanjay Singh left no stone unturned in justifying/obfuscating his misconduct on one pretext or another before tendering his unconditional apology after much tribulation. Even at last the unqualified and unconditional apology tendered by Sanjay Singh cannot be a premise for early reprieve in view of the aggravating circumstances indicated," the panel said.

Stating that although his conduct justifies exemplary punishment, the committee said that taking a conspectus of entire facts and circumstances of the case it has been recommended that Singh's unconditional apology may be accepted and the suspension suffered by him so far be taken as sufficient.

The panel said the Council may consider discontinuance of suspension of Sanjay Singh with immediate effect.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday announced in the House that Sanjay Singh was suspended from the service of the House from July 24, 2023, till the Committee of Privileges submitted its findings and found Singh guilty of misconduct.

He said the Rajya Sabha Committee on Privileges on June 26, 2024, presented the 77th and 78th Reports on the pending matters against Singh.

"The committee while holding Sanjay Singh guilty of breach of privilege of the Council in all the cases, recommended that the member has already suffered sufficient punishment for the transgression," Dhankhar said.

"Invoking the authority vested in me under Rules 202 and 266 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), suspension of Sanjay Singh, Member, was revoked with effect from 26th June, 2024, so as to allow him to attend Parliament. I am sure the House approves this," the chairman said.

In another report, the Privileges panel rested the matter pertaining to breach of privilege against 'Telangana Today', after its editor accepted the error of misreporting from the very first instance and pleaded it to be an unintentional lapse on their part and tendered an unconditional apology for "misreporting" on the meeting of the business advisory committee of Rajya Sabha.

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Published 27 June 2024, 14:02 IST

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