Trinamool MP Shantanu Sen suspended for the rest of session for ‘unruly conduct’

Trinamool MP Shantanu Sen has been suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the remaining part of the monsoon session for ‘unruly behaviour’. Sen had snatched a paper from information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, containing the statement on the Pegasus row he was reading out in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, and tore it to pieces.

Minutes after the Upper House met for on Friday, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked parliamentary affairs minister V Muraleedharan to read out a resolution which said Sen be suspended for the remaining period of the current session for “unruly behaviour unbecoming of a Rajya Sabha member.” Sen had torn and thrown the torn paper towards the chair, “bringing disrepute to this august House,” the resolution said.

Naidu sought the sense of the House amid the din and summarily announced that Sen was suspended from the House for the remaining part of the session, which will end on August 13. Trinamool MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy raised a point of order. He said the resolution was listed as part of business for the day and hence was not acceptable. His colleague Derek O’Brien said a Union minister (reference to urban development minister Hardeep Puri who had a heated exchange of words with Sen on Thursday) had engaged in “boorish” behaviour and action should be taken against him. Naidu ruled against both Roy and O’Brien. He said the minister’s fight with Sen was after adjournment of the House and hence not liable for action. He adjourned the House till noon.

Despite being suspended, Sen did not leave the chamber. When the House met at noon, deputy chairperson Harivansh had to adjourn it again as Opposition members continued to raise slogans and protest over the farmers issue and the Pegasus mobile tapping allegations. Government insiders said the rules forbade House functioning if a suspended member remained in the chamber and this was one reasons for the adjournment. Later, Sen went to the Central Hall but was not allowed to re-enter the Rajya Sabha by marshals. The House met at 2 pm but with the Opposition disallowing its functioning, it was adjourned till Monday.

Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma, Ray, Jairam Ramesh (Congress), T Siva (DMK) and Vaiko (MDMK) met Naidu in his chamber to raise the issue of suspension carried out without prior notice for Motion of Suspension. Sources said Rule 29(2) of the Upper House gave the chairperson the right to allow a motion without approval. When some members said Sen should have been given an opportunity to express regret, officials maintained that the chairperson could not do so once a motion was moved as it would create an ‘awkward situation’ if the MP did not apologise.

Earlier when the House met for the day, Naidu said that Sen’s act was an “assault on parliamentary democracy”. He asked who would benefit from disruptions and alleged there was scant respect for the Constitution and sanctity of Parliament.



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