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Speaker shunts out MP from House
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
On the eve of 60th Independence Day, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee took an unprecedented step of naming Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP) member P.C Thomas for disobeying the chair and asked him to withdraw from the House.

This is the first instance of an MP being named for indiscipline by the Speaker in the 14th Lok Sabha.

Officials in the Lok Sabha secretariat said this was perhaps the first time that a Speaker has invoked Rule 373. It states “The Speaker may direct any member whose conduct is, in his opinion, grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House, and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”

Thomas, an ally of the UPA coalition, was asked to leave the house immediately by an angry Speaker after Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee warned him that he would be forced to move a motion to suspend him from the House if he continued to defy the chair.

Ignoring pleas from the chair, Thomas went on speaking on a privilege motion on Railway Ministry’s decision to bifurcate the Palghat division to create another division at Salem in Tamil Nadu, an issue on which CPM member N.N. Krishnadas had already a made a forceful plea.

When Thomas continued to speak despite Chatterjee’s repeated warnings, Mukherjee got up and told him I will be forced to move a motion (for suspension) against you.

Information and broadcasting minister P.R. Dasmunsi and other members rushed towards Thomas to dissuade him from speaking.

“Under rule 373, I direct you to withdraw from the house,” the Speaker told the member who continued to speak.

Thomas finally left the House when Chatterjee said, “You are behaving abominably and in a disgusting manner. You have to go out of the House.”

Earlier, taking serious note of disruption of Prime Minister’s statement on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the House yesterday, the Speaker said such a conduct by members cannot be permitted for ever.

“I am extremely sorry that we witnessed extremely uproarious scenes when the PM was speaking and that can never be condoned,” he said.

“There can be no hindrance in debating all permissible issues and expression of one’s views in any matter. But, unfortunately, there is continuous violation of the rules and defiance of the chair which cannot be permitted for ever,” he said.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for 20 minutes today after MPs from Kerala disrupted proceedings over the move to bifurcate the state’s Palakkad railway division.

The MPs, who staged a sit in protest at the main entrance of Parliament before the proceedings commenced, wanted to raise the issue after the House met at 11 a.m. They wanted Question Hour to be dispensed with.

However, members of the Opposition kept mum and watched the MPs of UPA partners disrupting the proceedings. After about 10 minutes’ uproar, Railway Minister Lalu Parsad entered the House but did not say anything on the issue.

However, Pranab Mukherjee assured the irate members that their demands would be taken up after the Question Hour. But the agitated MPs refused to budge, forcing Speaker to adjourn the House for 30 minutes.

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