Tuesday, July 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Ayodhya rocks Lok Sabha
Oppn fails to get question hour suspended
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bollywood star and Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Aazmi and BJP MP Maya Singh arrive at Parliament House
Bollywood star and Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Aazmi and BJP MP Maya Singh arrive at Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday. 

Actor-turned-director and Rajya Sabha Member Satish Kaushik being welcomed by Union Civil Aviation Minister
Actor-turned-director and Rajya Sabha Member Satish Kaushik (left) being welcomed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy at Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photos

New Delhi, July 21
The monsoon session of Parliament got off to a stormy start as the entire Opposition created a ruckus in the Lok Sabha today. More than 20 Opposition members stormed into the well of the House, raising slogans and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over the Ayodhya issue.

The agitated Opposition members trooped into the well as soon as the Speaker asked Law Minister Arun Jaitley to clarify the government’s position on the issue. The Opposition members shouted “no, no” in a chorus, thus effectively preventing Mr Jaitley to make his clarification and requested the Speaker to give a ruling as he was their “custodian.”

The protesting members alleged that Mr Vajpayee had “pressurised” the CBI for dropping the conspiracy charge under Section 120 (B) of Indian Penal Code against Mr Advani, Human Resource Development Minister Murali Manohar Joshi, Madhya Pradesh BJP President Uma Bharti and VHP leader Ashok Singhal.

The Speaker’s pleas to the Opposition members for going back to their seats did not yield any result and amid the cacophony, Mr Manohar Joshi adjourned the House for about two hours. This happened around 11.50 am.

The Speaker had a meeting of representatives of the government as well as major Opposition parties in his chamber at 1 pm. At this meeting, the Speaker is understood to have told the Opposition that the government stand was that since the CBI chargesheet against Mr Advani and others had never charged them under Section 120 B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy), the question of dropping Section 120 B did not arise at all.

The meeting at the Speaker’s chamber ended in a logjam and as a result a similar scene prevailed after the House reassembled at 2 pm. This time, the Speaker quickly adjourned the House for the day.

The notices for suspension of question hour moved by Congress chief whip P.R. Dasmunsi, Samajwadi Party member Ramji Lal Suman, RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Muslim League member G M Banatwala on the issue of dropping of the charge by the CBI were rejected by the Speaker.

Mr Dasmunsi accused the Vajpayee government of “demolishing the concept of parliamentary democracy” and said it was the “belated wisdom” of the CBI which dropped the charge “at the behest of the Prime Minister”. He pointed out that the judiciary had on September 9, 1997 thought it fit prima facie to include the charge of conspiracy against Mr Advani and other leaders, but the CBI in a chargesheet in May this year moved the Rae Bareilly court to remove the charge against them. He described this as “nothing but gross manipulation and abuse of the CBI.”

Mr Raghuvansh Prasad charged the Prime Minister with “forcing the CBI to drop Section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (conspiracy) to protect his Cabinet colleagues”. Mr Banatwala described the move as a “serious fraud” on the criminal justice system.

Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi was present during the pandemonium. Later, Law Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that the entire premise behind its allegation was “factually incorrect”. He categorically stated that “there is no interference by the Central Government and there is absolutely no dropping of any charge by the CBI.”

He also contended that the 1993 chargesheet against Mr Advani, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Ms Uma Bharti and five others before a Rae Bareilly court never had the charge of conspiracy against them under Section 120 (B) IPC.

The Law Minister said the charge sheet was transferred and merged with a Lucknow case involving 41 other accused without the permission of the Allahabad High Court, which ruled on February 12, 2001, that the merger was “void and bad in law” and sent it back to the Rae Bareilly court for further proceedings. The CBI had in May this year only revived the original chargesheet of February 27, 1993, under which Mr Advani and others had not been charged with conspiracy.

The Law Minister’s contention was that the charge sheet against the above mentioned persons was filed at a time when the Congress government, led by Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, was at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh was under President’s rule.

Today’s developments caught the Opposition on the wrong foot as it failed to get question hour suspended in the Lok Sabha and seemed set to lose its case for an adjournment motion to discuss dropping of conspiracy charge by the CBI against Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and seven others in the Ayodhya case.

Four members had given a notice for suspension of question hour while 32 others had given notices for the adjournment motion, which calls for suspension of all other business and a discussion on the subject.

Speaker Manohar Joshi’s ruling on why he rejected the Opposition members’ demand for suspension of question hour dropped enough indications, according to political observers, that the Opposition’s demand for the adjournment motion on the subject was also going to meet the same fate.

The Speaker said in his ruling: “I refer the notice of adjournment motion, immediately on receipt today, to the government for its comments. Mr Arun Jaitley, the honourable Law Minister, has just now sent me a letter, in response to this, which is as under:

The government has received a notice of adjournment motion filed by several members of this house on the alleged abuse of power by the CBI and the government in relation to the chargesheet in the Ayodhya case.

Besides dealing with a subject matter, which is sub judice, the CBI has not diluted any case, dropped any charge against any accused persons. Section 120 (B) was never a charge in the Rae Bareilly chargesheet, and the question of dropping it does not arise.’Back


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |