Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien has been suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the rest of the Monsoon Session for “unruly behaviour and disregarding the directions of the Chair”, House Chairman and Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar announced today.
The TMC MP was, however, back in parliament in 40 minutes. Mr Dhankhar said he had decided not to go through with the suspension but Mr O’Brien would have been benched if he had taken the sense of the house.
The TMC leader sought to speak under the pretext of raising a point of order and when the chairman asked him to point to the rule he was wanting to speak on, O’Brien said 267 — the rule under which the opposition has been seeking a discussion on the Manipur issue since the start of the Monsoon session on July 20.
The Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal thereafter moved a motion for suspending the Trinamool leader for the rest of the Monsoon session.
No sooner had Mr Goyal got up than Trinamool MPs rushed to the well, shouting slogans.
Mr Dhankhar said Derek O’Brien has been suspended for the remainder of the Monsoon session, which ends on August 11.
“Leave the house immediately,” Mr Dhankhar told the Trinamool MP.
On Monday, Mr Dhankhar accused Derek O’Brien of doing “theatrics” in the House to gain publicity during a heated debate on the Delhi services bill.
Mr Dhankhar’s outburst came after the TMC member refused to confine his speech to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and unleashed a litany of allegations against the central government.
The chairman accused the TMC MP of making “engaging in theatrics” a habit, inviting a strong objection from Mr O’Brien, who said he was quoting the rules of the House and demanding a serious discussion on Manipur.
“Your demeanour was ignoble, does not justify the position you hold. You have upset the decorum of the ecosystem….of House. You have done it on purpose,” Mr Dhankhar added.
Derek O’Brien’s suspension comes on a day when the Parliament is scheduled to take up a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi-led government. The Lok Sabha will hold a debate on the motion, with a no-trust vote expected on Wednesday or Thursday.
The opposition has been pressing for a discussion under Rule 267, which gives a Rajya Sabha MP special power to suspend the pre-decided agenda of the House, with the approval of the Chairman.
Motions moved under this rule have rarely been accepted. Parliamentary records show that discussions under the rule were allowed only 11 times between 1990 and 2016. The last instance was in 2016, when then Chairman Hamid Ansari had allowed a debate on the “demonetisation of currency”.