NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha on Monday cancelled and deleted four questions, one oral and three seeking written replies, posed during Question Hour by suspended Trinamool Congress MP Santanu Sen.
The questions were scheduled to be taken up on Monday but showed up on the list as ‘cancelled and deleted’, ostensibly because Sen “was robbed of all entitlements”, including participating in the proceedings of the House, moving notices and asking questions, when he was placed under suspension last week.
While Rajya Sabha sources said this was done as per “convention and practise”, former Lok Sabha secretary general, PDT Achary referred to the move as unprecedented. Speaking to TOI, Achary said that while suspension of a member from the House limits his physical entry into the inner lobby and chambers of the House, it does not deprive him of his “basic rights” as a member, which includes the right to ask questions.
When contacted, TMC MP Santanu Sen said, “My suspension from the House by itself was unparliamentary since it was not included in the list of business, nor on the supplementary list. How can one expect parliamentary behaviour from an unparliamentary party? Therefore, my party will raise this issue in the House on Tuesday.”
Rajya Sabha sources, however, maintained that this was not the first time an individual or a group of MPs placed under suspension were denied permission to pose questions in the House.
The source said the Rajya Sabha table office, on July 23, conveyed to Sen that no notices moved by him during the suspension will be admissible. It also said notices tabled by the member “prior to his suspension” shall also “not be included or admitted in the List of Business or Lists of Questions or List of Amendments in respect of Bills etc. during the period of his suspension”.
Sen was suspended from the House on July 23 for snatching and tearing up a copy of the government’s statement on Pegasus snooping, which Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu had referred to as an “assault on the country’s parliamentary democracy.”