Suspension of Members of Parliament (MPs)

    0
    1333

    In News

    • Recently, nineteen Members of Parliament (MPs) were suspended from Rajya Sabha for a week. The MPs were suspended for “unruly behaviour”.

    Rules under which the Presiding Officer acts

    • Rule 373: The Speaker, if he is of the opinion that the conduct of any Member is grossly disorderly, may direct such Member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any Member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.
    • To deal with more recalcitrant Members, the Speaker makes recourse to Rules 374 and 374A.
    • Rule 374 says:
      • The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
      • If a Member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the Member (naming such Member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
      • A member suspended under this rule shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
    • Rule 374A was incorporated in the Rule Book on December 5, 2001. The intention was to skirt around the necessity of moving and adopting a motion for suspension.
    • According to Rule 374A: 
      • 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 wilfully 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: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
      • On the Speaker announcing the suspension under this rule, the Member shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
    • In Rajya Sabha:
      • Rule 255: Like the Speaker in Lok Sabha, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is empowered under this Rule of its Rule Book to “direct any Member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House.
      • Under Rule 256, the Chairman may “name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business. In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the Member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
      • The House may, by another motion, terminate the suspension.

    Reasons for Disruptions

    • Dissatisfaction in MPs:  Inadequate time for airing their grievances. 
    • Political disagreements: On discussing issues like Pegasus phone hacking & farm laws. 
    • Violation of norms: Political parties not adhering to parliamentary norms.
    • Lack of Legislative Scrutiny: Government introduced 11 bills in the session & passed them without scrutiny by standing committees.
    • Other reasons: 
      • Unresponsive attitude of the government, like handling of Covid-19 situation, deaths due to the pandemic etc.
      • Absence of rigid & prompt statutory provisions
      • Less number of working days

    Challenges

    • Lack of opportunities: 
      • In most cases, disorders in the House arise out of a sense of frustration felt by members due to lack of opportunities to make his point
    • Planned offences:
      • More difficult to tackle is planned parliamentary offences and deliberate disturbances for publicity or for political motives.
    • Quality of bills:
      • Lesser debates will eventually deteriorate the quality of the bills and would even question the representation of Public’s will in the law.
    • Hinder development:
      • Generally, the Government at Centre is not present in States so the splitting of agendas of Centre and States will eventually harm the overall development of the Country.

    Terms of suspension

    • The maximum period of suspension is for the remainder of the session.
    • Suspended members cannot enter the chamber or attend the meetings of the committees.
    • He will not be eligible to give notice for discussion or submission.
    • He loses the right to get a reply to his questions.

    Way Ahead

    • The majority party is responsible for governing and should take other parties into confidence
    • The Opposition should play a constructive role in Parliament and be allowed to put forward its views and express itself in a dignified manner.
    • The solution to unruly behaviour has to be long-term and consistent with democratic values. 
    • A previous Speaker had ordered that television cameras be focussed on the demonstrating members, so that people could see for themselves how their representatives were behaving in the House.

    Source: TH + IE