NewDelhi/Nagpur: When the pandemonium in the Lok Sabha reached its zenith with the ruckus created by the Opposition in the House, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday the August 3, 2015, excised her powers and suspended 25 Congress MPs from the House for five consecutive days under Rule 374(A). According to some media reports, the MPs were suspended for causing “grave disorder” in the house.
While addressing the ruckus creators, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is believed to have said, “I am sorry…You have to come to the Well of the House…You have been persistently and willfully obstructing the business of the House”.
The Speaker ‘named’ (identifying for action) the 25 Congress members who were carrying placards and shouting slogans in the well while pressing for resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
While taking the tough action under Rule 374(A), she said the members were being suspended for “persistently, willfully obstructing the House.
She ruled that the ‘named’ members will not attend five sittings of the House. Congress has 44 MPs in all and the number is now reduced to 19 MPs for the next five sittings, making it the party with a lower presence than even the Biju Janata Dal which has 20 MPs.
Mahajan adjourned the House immediately after. However, a number of the Congress members staged a sit-in in the House. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi also did not leave the House for quite some time and were seen holding discussions with leaders of some other opposition parties.
Her action came after several warnings and despite pleas by TMC leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay and CPI (M) leader P Karunakaran that it would aggravate the situation.
Mahajan then went on to name the MPs suspended from the House and said, “All these people stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive days.”
Some of the prominent names from the list of suspended MPs include Gaurav Gogoi, Deepender Singh Hooda, MK Raghavan, KC Venugopal and Ranjeet Ranjan.
Speaker warned them earlier today
Vociferous protests by Opposition members led by the Congress had continued in the Lok Sabha on Monday as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned several of them of action if they did not stop displaying placards, forcing the adjournment of the House for almost two hours.
The noisy scenes had begun soon after the House assembled and expressed grief at the loss of lives and property in different parts of the country due to cyclone and floods.
When the Question Hour was taken up, over 30 members of the Congress trooped in to the Well, raising slogans and holding placards demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
Members from SP, RJD and JD(U) had also been in the well with placards demanding that caste census data be made public, while some TRS members, also holding placards in the aisles, had sought a separate High Court for Telangana.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, standing at his seat, was seen thumping the desk as his party members continued sloganeering in the Well.
As repeated pleas from the Speaker to the agitating members to put down their placards went unheeded, she named several of them, including Gaurav Gogoi, Sushmita Dev, Deepender Hooda, KC Venugopal and Rajiv Satav, and later warned them of action.
Amid noisy protests, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said the government wanted the Question Hour to continue, after which the Speaker had called out names of those whose questions had been listed for the day.
The Question Hour had proceeded with some Ministers replying to certain questions, but most of them could not be heard in the din. Opposition members, especially from the Congress, have been protesting against the government over Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam since the Monsoon Session began last month.
What does rule 374(A) say
Rule 374(A) says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder 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, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.”