The government is likely to move a breach of privilege motion against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra over the lawmaker’s speech in the Parliament on Monday, sources told CNN-News18.
During her speech, Moitra had cast aspersions on the conduct of a former judge. RSP MP N K Premachandran, who was in the Chair, at first, warned her that her remarks will be expunged if found objectionable. Later, however, as outrage over her incendiary remarks grew among lawmakers from the ruling party, the comments were expunged from record.
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal termed her comments as “shameful".
As per Article 121 of the Constitution of India, no Supreme Court or High Court judge who has discharged their duty or passed a judgement can be discussed in the Parliament.
The Rules and Procedures 352(5) of the Parliament also dictate that the conduct of people in constitutional positions cannot be questioned. Despite the direction of the chair, Moitra continued to repeat her statements, in violation of Rule 356, sources pointed out.
In her strong-worded speech during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, she had lashed out at the government, the judiciary and media.
Lok Sabha resumed normal functioning Monday after a week-long disruption over the three Central farm laws following an appeal by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that it was a duty of every member to maintain the tradition of passing the Motion of Thanks to President’s address.
After the House convened at 5 pm, Singh said the tradition of thanking the President has been continuing for long and it should not be broken in a healthy democracy. He also said that Rajya Sabha has already passed the Motion of Thanks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply and “I appeal to members not to break this tradition in the Lok Sabha". Singh said that members are free to speak on farm laws during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks.
Congress Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too said that this tradition has been continuing since 1921 and should not be broken. “Our demand was to discuss the issue of farmers who have been sitting in the cold on the borders of Delhi in protest against farm laws. It is regrettable that they are being stopped from entering the capital by sharp nails and barbed wires," he said referring to the reinforced barricading at the farmers’ protest sites.
He said the Opposition wanted an assurance from the government for a standalone discussion on the farmers’ issue either after the debate on Motion of Thanks or after the discussion on Budget. Speaker Om Birla also appealed to the members to allow the House to function and not indulge in sloganeering.
Participating in the debate later, BJP member Virendra Kumar said the Narendra Modi government is committed to the welfare of farmers and it will remain so in the future too. The Modi government has been trying to double the income of the farmers through various measures, he said.
Referring to the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three agricultural laws, Kumar said there was some anxiety among a section of farmers but the government has tried to allay their concerns through discussions and so far 11-12 rounds of talks have taken place.
“I want to make it clear that the government is committed to the welfare of the farmers. It was, it is and it will continue to do so," he said amidst thumping of desks by BJP members in attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi among others.
Kumar said the government has so far given Rs 1,13,000 lakh crore financial assistance to farmers and has been trying to enhance the minimum support price (MSP) of various agriculture products. “Our government’s aim is to double the income of the farmers," he said.
The BJP member said those who had incited people to create vandalism at the Red Fort or doubted the efficacy of the Indian vaccines, could not be called leaders. Kumar also listed the Modi government’s initiatives for the welfare of migrant labourers, reforms in labour laws, empowerment of women and providing houses to all homeless people by 2022.
(With inputs from PTI)