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Centre to Move Suspension Motion Against TMC MP Who Snatched Papers from IT Minister

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks on 'Pegasus Project' in Rajya Sabha.

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks on 'Pegasus Project' in Rajya Sabha.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan will move the motion on Friday.

The Centre will move a suspension motion in the Rajya Sabha against TMC MP Shantanu Sen seeking his immediate suspension from the house for the rest of the Monsoon Session following his “intimidating" behaviour towards another member of Parliament. Massive uproar and commotion ensued in the Upper House on Thursday after Sen snatched papers from Communications and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and tore those as the minister was about to make a statement on the alleged snooping row using Israeli spyware Pegasus.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan will move the motion on Friday. Under rule 256 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, a member may be suspended for disregarding the authority of the Chair or abusing the rules of the Council by persistently and willfully obstructing the business.

The call would be taken by the Chair. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, the Chair can decide to suspend the MP for one day, one week or the remaining part of the session.

TMC, Congress and other opposition party members, who had earlier forced two adjournments of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, rushed into the well of the House as Vaishnaw was called to make a statement on the issue. Sen snatched the papers from the hands of the minister, tore and flung those in the air. This stopped the minister in his steps from making the statement and he said he was laying a copy of it on the table of the House.

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Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked the members to desist from unparliamentary behaviour, before adjourning the proceedings of the House for the day. “Please do not adhere to this unparliamentary practice," Harivansh said, adding that the report that all MPs want to hear has now been laid on the table of the House and it can be discussed.

He said the minister has laid the statement on the table of the House and asked if the MPs want to ask him any questions on that. But the opposition MPs continued to raise slogans against the alleged snooping controversy.

In the ruckus, the deputy chairman sought laying of the parliamentary committee reports that could not be laid at the scheduled hour in the morning due to opposition protests. Soon after, he adjourned the proceedings for the day.

The statement that the minister laid on the table of the House was similar to the one he had made on July 19, a day after reports appeared of journalists, political rivals and critics of the government being targeted through surveillance using Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. In the statement, Vaishnaw, whose phone number was among those listed as compromised by Washington Post, called the reports an “attempt to malign the Indian democracy and its well-established institutions".

Last year, during the monsoon session, several MPs were seen tearing papers and standing in front of the Chair during the passage of the farm bills, after which the Chair had suspended eight MPs from various parties, including Trinamool MPs Congress Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, for trying to harm the Chair, break the mike and snatch papers from his table.

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first published:July 22, 2021, 18:08 IST