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TMC member Derek O'Brien suspended for rest of RS session for throwing rule book at Chair

December 22, 2021 11:29 PM

New Delhi, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien was on Tuesday suspended for the rest of the Winter Session for “gross misconduct” after he flung the Rule Book towards the Chair during the heated discussions on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

House Deputy Chairman Sasmit Patra of the BJD, who was presiding, moved the motion for suspension of the TMC member, which was adopted by voice vote, right at the end of the day's proceedings.

The Opposition had earlier walked out of the Rajya Sabha during passage of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill.

House Vice Chair Patra, reading out the notice, said that O’Brien had raised a point of order to which the Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh had responded, but he flung the Rule Book towards the Chair, which could have hurt anybody there, including the Marshalls.

Vice Chair Patra said that O’Brien resorted to "grave misconduct" and instead of setting an example had "denigrated the Chair and House and the country, which was highly condemnable".

He moved the motion that the TMC member be suspended.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan then read out the motion to suspend the TMC member for the rest of the session, which was adopted by voice vote.

Earlier, after passage of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal, speaking on the issue had said that the whole House saw the “behaviour of the Opposition” and how a member of a leading party “violated the rules of decency, which is the basic that can be expected from a member”.

Goyal said there can be opposing views, “but this kind of bringing politics inside the House” cannot be allowed.

He said with the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill the government is trying to create a transparent system so that people can vote without the fear of bogus voting.

He said the reforms in politics and the electoral process is aimed to “clean the process”.

Referring to the vehement protests of the Opposition, he said that there is “khot” (blemish) in their minds “with election malpractices in their minds”.

Referring to Derek O’Brien, he said the way he threw the rule book “is an insult not just to the Chair but to the country”.

Goyal added that he is “not happy” that 12 members who have been suspended are sitting outside. “The least they should have done is to apologise for their absolutely unacceptable behaviour. Apologising does not make one small, “ he said, adding that the opposition lacks a large heart, and that their aim is “not to allow the House to run or the progress of the country”.

TMC member O'Brien had thrown the rule book during the passage of the Election Rules (Amendment) Bill, 2021 when he raised a point of order on rule 259, which was also raised by fellow TMC member Sukhendu Ray.

O’Brien said that according to rule 259 it is the duty of the Chair to ensure order in the House.

He cited the rule as the Deputy Chair Harivansh Narayan Singh was not allowing Division of House, which was requested by the Opposition on the Bill. The Deputy Chair insisted that the protesting Opposition members must move back to their seats for a Division to take place.

Raising his voice, Derek O’Brien said they have regard for rules of the House and for maintaining order, and referred to the rushed manner in which the farm laws were repealed.

However, he was not allowed to speak further, and he threw the rule book.

John Brittas of the CPIM too raised point of order on rule 259, but was told that the issue had been cleared.

The Opposition then walked out of the House.

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