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A day after Adhir, another Oppn MP suspended from House; Raghav Chadha out over select panel row

Raghav Chadha, the AAP MP was suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Friday for “gross violation of rule and misconduct” pending a report by the Privileges Committee.

The AAP MP  was suspended days after four Rajya Sabha MPs — the BJD’s Sasmit Patra, BJP’s S Phangnon Konyak and Narhari Amin, and the AIADMK’s M Thambidurai — complained about the breach of their privileges, charging that their names had been included in an amendment moved by Chadha seeking referral of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to a Select Committee without their consent.

This comes a day after Congress MP and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was suspended for “repeated misconduct” pending an investigation by the privileges committee.

Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Rajya Sabha Chairman, had referred the case against Chadha to the Privileges Committee of the House for probe. The AAP MP’s suspension followed a motion moved by the Leader of the House, Piyush Goyal, who sought action against him for including the names of the four MPs in a proposed Select Committee for the NCT Bill.

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Goyal said Chadha’s action was “unethical” and “unexpected” and that his conduct was “unbecoming” for a member of Parliament, accusing the AAP MP of breaching the members’ privileges.

The motion for his suspension was passed by a voice vote.

The period of AAP MP Sanjay Singh’s current suspension from the Upper House was also extended till the Privileges Committee decides on the complaints against him.

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh announced a probe into the complaints of at least four MPs on Monday that their names were included in a Select Committee of the House for the NCT Bill without their consent, which was proposed by Chadha.

After Harivansh read out the names to be included in the proposed Select Committee, Home Minister Amit Shah said that five members have complained that their names were included without their signatures in the proposal moved by the AAP leader.

Shah immediately demanded that this issue be investigated. Terming it a breach of privilege of the House, he said the matter should be referred to the Privileges Committee. “Who all have signed on their behalf is a subject of investigation,” he said and requested the Chair to record the statements of the complainant members.

“….Since the consent of the aggrieved Members was never allegedly obtained, it prima facie appears to be a gross violation of the Rules and dignity of the aggrieved Members. Such transgression by a Member of the Council in the exclusive domain of other Members is unethical and a grave act of impropriety and misconduct,” the notice referring the matter to the Privileges Committee said.

It said notices have been received from four MPs, who have alleged a breach of privilege by Chadha “for including their names without their consent in violation of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, for moving a motion in the Council….proposing constitution of a Select Committee to consider the ‘Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023.”

Notice for Raghav Chadha

“It is alleged that Raghav Chadha… did not seek consent from the four…. Members in gross violation of the Rules. Moving a motion of Amendment to a Bill and giving consent to be a Member of a Select Committee is the prerogative of Members of the Council. However, a Member while exercising such discretion should not misuse the process by making any attempt to demean and disregard similar prerogatives available to other Members,” the notice said. It added that the Chairman has referred the matter under “Rule 203 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) to the Committee of Privileges for examination, investigation, and report”.

On his part, Raghav has defended himself, maintaining that it was just a proposal for which he did not secure the members’ signatures because it “was not a requirement” for setting up a House panel. He has dismissed the allegations against him as the BJP’s “fake propaganda”.

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