Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has referred all the complaints related to BJP Lok Sabha MP Ramesh Bidhuri and BSP leader Danish Ali on the floor of the house to the Privileges Committee.
What will Privileges Committee look into?
BSP MP Danish Ali, along with other Opposition MPs, had demanded action against Ramesh Bidhuri. Meanwhile, several BJP MPs, including Nishikant Dubey, alleged that Ali had provoked Bidhuri with highly objectionable remarks against the Prime Minister. Although Dubey condemned Bidhuri’s conduct, he also urged the Speaker to examine Ali’s behavior. The Privileges Committee will thoroughly investigate all complaints related to this incident.
Bidhuri had made certain derogatory remarks, later expunged from records, targeting BSP member Danish Ali on September 22 when he was speaking in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
How did BJP react?
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey expressed his gratitude to the Speaker for initiating an investigation into the Danish Ali case. He attributed this development to the BJP’s majority in the House. Dubey cited several past incidents where no committees were formed to probe similar issues, and no one was held accountable.
He stated, “With the BJP’s majority in the Lok Sabha, it is now possible. Without a committee, there would have been no accountability, as seen in past incidents such as the RJD-Congress-JD(U) altercation over shoes and microphones in 2006, Sonia Gandhi’s assault in 2012, or the physical altercation over the formation of Telangana in 2014 that left MPs injured.”
What is a Privileges Committee?
The Privileges Committee is a parliamentary committee present in both Houses of Parliament. In the Lok Sabha, this committee consists of 15 members nominated by the Speaker. Its primary function is to investigate questions involving the breach of privileges of the House or its members, as referred to it by the House or the Speaker. The committee assesses each case to determine whether a breach of privilege has occurred and provides appropriate recommendations in its report. Any member of the House can raise a question involving a breach of privilege with the consent of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Privilege committee members
The Privileges Committee comprises eight members from the BJP, with Sunil Kumar Singh serving as the Chairperson. Additionally, there is one member each from BJD, YSRCP, Shiv Sena, Congress, AITC, and DMK. Here is the current list of members:
1. Sunil Kumar Singh, BJP (Chairperson)
2. Ganesh Singh, BJP
3. Janardan Singh Sigriwal, BJP
4. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, BJP
5. Naranbhai Bhikhabhai Kachhadiya, BJP
6. Chandra Prakash Joshi, BJP
7. Dilip Ghosh, BJP
8. Raju Bista, BJP
9. Achyutananda Samanta, BJD
10. Talari Rangaiah, YSRCP
11. Omprakash Bhupalsingh alias Pavan, Shivsena
12. Suresh Kodikunnil, Congress
13. Kalyan Banerjee, AITC
14. Thalikkottai Rajuthevar Baalu, DMK
What will Privileges Committee do?
After reviewing the incidents or cases brought before it, the Parliament Privileges Committee makes recommendations “as it may deem fit”. During its examination, the committee may call relevant parties to provide testimony and review relevant records. There is no set timeline for when the committee will issue its report.
Recently, the Privileges Committee recommended the revocation of suspension of Lok Sabha Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury over his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recently held no-confidence motion debate.
In the Rajya Sabha, the suspension of Congress MP Rajani Patil was revoked on August 7, 2023. BJP MP Saroj Pandey, presenting the Committee of Privileges’ report, stated that while the panel found Patil guilty, her suspension until that date was considered adequate, leading to its revocation. This decision was made one day before the no-trust debate. Patil had been suspended from the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session of 2023 for allegedly videographing the proceedings.
Punishments in past
The authority to decide punishments rests with the respective Houses of Parliament. If a member is found guilty, they may face suspension from the House or expulsion. While many notices have been rejected in the past, there have been instances where penal actions were recommended.
One notable case occurred in December 2005 when 11 “tainted” MPs, caught in a cash-for-query scandal, were expelled from the House.
Another significant incident took place in 1978 when Indira Gandhi was expelled from the House after winning the Lok Sabha elections from Chikmagalur. This decision followed the findings of the Justice Shah Commission, which investigated abuses during the Emergency. The then-Home Minister Charan Singh had submitted a resolution of privilege violation against her based on the commission’s findings.