The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a motion to revoke the suspension of seven Congress members, even as Speaker Om Birla returned to the House for the first time since the ugly incidents of March 2 when ruling and opposition members had scuffled.
The seven Congress members – Gaurav Gogoi, T N Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, R Unnithan, Manickam Tagore, Benny Behanan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla – were suspended on March 5 for the remaining period of the budget session for gross misconduct.
The motion to revoke their suspension was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal and passed by a voice vote on Wednesday. Birla then announced that the suspension stands revoked with immediate effect.
After the unruly scenes on March 2 when the House met after a recess, a “pained” Speaker Om Birla had stopped coming to the House and the proceedings were presided by a panel chairpersons. After a meeting with leaders of all parties on Wednesday, Birla came to the House at 1.30 pm and chaired the proceedings. Members cutting across party lines welcomed him back and expressed happiness that he was again presiding over the House. They simultaneously sought revocation of suspension of the seven Congress MPs.
Birla said he was personally pained and hurt over the
happenings in the House in recent days and actions of some members who tore
papers in the Well, snatched papers from marshals and displayed
“In this House we can agree, disagree on issues, or use sarcasm, but decorum should be maintained,” Birla said, assuring the Opposition that he would allow time for discussion on issues demanded by members. “It is necessary to keep the dignity of the Chair intact to retain the faith of people in India’s democracy,” Birla added.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party never wanted to dishonour the Chair or disturb the functioning of the House, as he sought revocation of suspension of the seven members. Asserting that it is the responsibility of both the opposition and the treasury benches to maintain the dignity of the House, Chowdhury said, “You don’t give life sentence to someone for just killing a pigeon.”
DMK’s T R Baalu and
TMC’s Saugata Roy said the House should function in harmony and members will
refrain from any action which impinges on the dignity of the House. “There
actions were not desirable…. I am not defending them. 1.5 million people who
elected these members would be deprived if the House functions without them,”
Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said this is the first time in the history of Lok Sabha that Speaker did not attend the House for 4 days because he was hurt by actions of members, especially from the Congress.
On March 2, BJP and Congress members had pushed and shoved each other in Lok Sabha, as opposition parties vehemently protested over the issue of violence in Delhi and demanded resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah. The opposition members shouted slogans, displayed placards and some even tore papers and hurled them in the air.