Rijiju hints Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla may issue privilege proceedings against Rahul Gandhi

Lok Sabha LoP Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech in his new position caused a major uproar in the Parliament.
Last Updated : 03 July 2024, 15:48 IST

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New Delhi: Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday indicated that the government will urge Speaker Om Birla to issue privilege proceedings against Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi.

He said that under Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the Speaker can direct a member to furnish substantiation of claims made in the House, failing which the matter could head to a privilege committee.

“Action will follow as per the rule under which the notice or appeal has been made. If you see the provisions of the rules, then the Honourable Speaker can give direction to the member to furnish the details as to why and under what circumstances he has misled the House. And, he (the member) might either substantiate it or apologise or whatever is necessary,” Rijiju told reporters.

He added that there are “other means” if the member does not cooperate. “And, there are other means. If he fails to do anything then (the) Honourable Speaker may refer the matter to (the) Privilege Committee … I cannot speak on behalf of the Speaker, I can only make an appeal on behalf of the government,” the minister added.

Rule 352 lists 11 instances that a member needs to observe while speaking in the House. This includes not speaking on pending judicial decisions, or making personal allegations, or using offensive words, or utter seditious words, etc. Rule 222 states that a member can “with the consent of the Speaker” raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee.

LoP Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech in his new position, which he delivered in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, had led to a dozen interjections by the members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, defence minister and home minister, among others. Gandhi locked horns with PM Modi on more than one occasion during his speech.

During the speech, home minister Amit Shah rose to ask Speaker Om Birla for “protection”. “You are going over the rules to give them concessions, we need your protection,” Shah had urged the Speaker.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, told Speaker Om Birla, during his address as part of the Motion of Thanks debate, to take action against Gandhi.

“Parliament was misled yesterday … We will not be able to protect parliamentary democracy without taking seriously what happened yesterday. We should not ignore these acts by calling them childish … I am saying this because the intentions behind this are not good,” the Prime Minister had said.

Rijiju also said that after the various chants in the House during oath-taking, Speaker Om Birla formed a committee which has passed a new rule that henceforth no political chants will be allowed during oath-taking. “The oath-taking will be regulated, it is a solemn occasion,” Rijiju said.

He added that the Opposition’s disruptions during the PM’s speech was “unprecedented”. “It is fine to interject a few times in between but to continuously try and drown the Prime Minister’s address, it is unfortunate … It has never happened before. The Congress has to think that the Prime Minister leads the country, they should respect the chair,” he said. Rijiju also said that several new members were affected by the continued disruptions and they told him so.

He said that in the Special Session of the 18th Lok Sabha, in addition to the oath-taking of 539 members, election of Speaker and appointment of LoP, the Motion of Thanks debate on the President’s Address took place where 68 members took part. More than 50 members laid their speeches on the Table of the House and discussions of more than 18 hours took place. Despite a day’s washout, productivity of the House has been 105%, he added.

In Rajya Sabha, on the 264th sitting, 76 members took part in the discussion on Motion of Thanks on President’s speech for more than 21 hours and total productivity of the House was over 100%.

Published 03 July 2024, 15:48 IST

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