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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Suspension of all 14 Opposition MPs revoked ahead of short budget session of Parliament

A record number of 146 Opposition MPs, 100 in the Lok Sabha and the rest in the Rajya Sabha, were suspended during the last winter session for waving placards and shouting slogans in the Well of the two Houses to demand a statement from the government on the Parliament security breach

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 31.01.24, 06:33 AM
Defence minister Rajnath Singh during an all-party meeting ahead of the budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh during an all-party meeting ahead of the budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI picture

The suspension of all the 14 Opposition MPs, whose cases were referred to the privileges committee, has been revoked ahead of the short budget session of Parliament commencing on Wednesday.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said the government requested the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to revoke the suspensions and the two agreed. “We spoke to the Speaker and the Chairman and requested both of them to speak with the concerned privileges committees, revoke the suspension and give them (the 14 suspended MPs) the opportunity to come to the House. Both of them agreed,” Joshi told reporters.

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The short budget session commencing on Wednesday is scheduled to end on February 9. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present an interim budget instead of a full one with the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May. The new government will present the full budget after the polls. The President’s address to the joint houses of Parliament will be held for the first time in the new building; because there is no Central Hall in the new scheme, the joint session will be summoned in the Lok Sabha.

A record number of 146 Opposition MPs, 100 in the Lok Sabha and the rest in the Rajya Sabha, were suspended during the last winter session for waving placards and shouting slogans in the Well of the two Houses to demand a statement from the government on the Parliament security breach. The Lok Sabha chamber was stormed by two smoke canister-carrying youths on December 13.

It is expected that the session beginning on Wednesday will also see raucous protests over the continued targeted harassment of Opposition leaders using agencies of government such as the Enforcement Directorate. Both Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and the family of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad are currently in the ED’s crosshairs.

While most of the MPs were suspended for the remainder of the last session only, meaning their suspensions stand automatically revoked, the cases of 14 MPs — 3 Lok Sabha and 11 Rajya Sabha — were referred to the privileges committee of the respective Houses. These 14 MPs were accused of serious misconduct and would stand suspended till their names were cleared by the committee.

The Lok Sabha privileges committee had earlier recommended that the suspension be withdrawn, after the 3 MPs expressed regret for their conduct, but the same was done by the Rajya Sabha committee on Tuesday. The process involves that the recommendations by the committee are sent to the head of the two Houses (Speaker and Chairman) who finally revoke the suspensions.

“Everybody’s suspension will be withdrawn…..but we have also told the floor leaders of different parties to follow the decision that MPs should not bring placards or similar materials inside the House,” Joshi said, after the customary all-party meeting a day ahead of the budget session. “The Chair will be forced to take action if the rules are not followed,” the minister added.

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