Recently Lok sabha suspended seven members for the remaining period of the Budget session.
Reason for Suspension:
- Conduct of the house: The concerned members snatched papers from the hand of the presiding officer.
- Role of Speaker: The Speaker is empowered to force a Member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day), or to place him/her under suspension.
Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to suspend/terminate a member
Rules under which action is taken
If the Conduct of the members
Action to be taken by the speaker/Chairman
the conduct of any Member is grossly disorderly.
The speaker may direct such members 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.
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.
A member if suspended under this rule
He/she shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
In the event of grave disorder occasioned by a Member and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise.
Such Members 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.
If the conduct is grossly disorderly
Chairman of Rajya Sabha is empowered to “direct any Member to withdraw immediately”.
Unlike the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chairman can not suspend a member.
If disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council.
Chairman may name the member and 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.
Procedure for revocation of the suspension
the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
Under this rule after the member is 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.
It is for the House, if it so desires, to resolve a motion to revoke the suspension. Power to revoke the suspension of the member is not vested in the speaker.
The house may adopt a motion to terminate such suspension.
Like the speaker of Lok sabha, Power to revoke the suspension of the member is not vested in the Chairman.
Similar incidents in Past:
- November 2019: Speaker Om Birla suspended two Congress Members. And in January 2019, Birla’s predecessor in the Speaker’s Chair, Sumitra Mahajan, suspended a total of 45 Members belonging to the TDP and AIADMK.
- 2014: Speaker Meira Kumar suspended 18 MPs from (undivided) Andhra Pradesh following pandemonium in the House.
- 1989: when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, as many as 63 members were suspended from the Lok Sabha for three days.
Issues arising due to suspension:
- Against the democratic order: Barring the elected representative of the people an extreme step to take in order to curb unruly behavior.
- The role of a speaker is to maintain the decorum of the house: the enforcement of the supreme authority of the Speaker is essential for the smooth conduct of proceedings.
- The need is to strike the balance between the rights of the elected representative and the smooth conduct of the house.
- It must be remembered that her job is to run the House, not to lord over it.
- A long term solution is required to control such unruly behavior which is consistent with democratic values.
- The solution suggested by previous speakers:
- Reserve a few blocks in the gallery for school children.
- Television cameras are focussed on demonstrating members so that people could see for themselves how their representatives were behaving in the House.
JV’s Prelims snippets
Speaker of Lok sabha
Election and Tenure: The Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members (as soon as may be, after its first sitting). Whenever the office of the Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
He is the guardian of the powers and privileges of the members.
Source of Authority: The Speaker of the Lok Sabha derives his powers and duties from three sources, that is, the Constitution of India, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and Parliamentary Conventions.
Role of the speaker:
- He maintains order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and regulating its proceedings.
- He is the final interpreter of the provisions of (a) the Constitution of India, (b) the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and (c) the parliamentary precedents, within the House.
- He adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in the absence of a quorum.
- He can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie.
- He presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
- He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final.
Independence and Impartiality of the speaker:
- Security of tenure: He can be removed only by a resolution passed by the Lok Sabha by an absolute majority.
- Salaries and allowance are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
Also read: Demand For Increase In The Lok Sabha Seats