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Katara expelled from Lok Sabha
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Disgraced BJP MP from Gujarat Babubhai Katara was today expelled from the 14th Lok Sabha after the committee looking into misconduct of members declared him guilty of grave misconduct. Katara was arrested in April last year on charges of human trafficking.

The members unanimously adopted the motion of Katara’s expulsion moved by leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee who said it was his misfortune that he had to move a motion against a colleague. “We must be extra careful in protecting the dignity of this great institution,” said Mukherjee, while moving the motion, even as Speaker Somnath Chatterjee referred to the day as “another sorry day.”

It would indeed be a matter of anguish for Chatterjee to be the Speaker of a Lok Sabha that has seen maximum expulsion of MPs in history. With Katara’s expulsion, the number of MPs stripped of membership in the 14th Lok Sabha has gone up to 11. Ten members were expelled in 2005 after being found guilty in the cash-for-query scam.

Prior to this, it was in 1978 during the tenure of the sixth Lok Sabha that an MP was expelled. The member in question was Indira Gandhi, then the leader of the opposition. Before her, H.D. Mudgal, a member of provisional Parliament (the first Lok Sabha was constituted only in 1952) was the first ever member to be expelled in 1951.

Gandhi, for her part, was expelled on the recommendation of committee of privileges, which considered a matter referred to it from the previous Lok Sabha when Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The allegation was that Gandhi, as PM, had prevented disclosure of information in the House with respect to Maruti Udyog. The information was sought to be received in the sixth Lok Sabha by way of an answer to a starred question.

However, when Indira Gandhi again became the PM in 1980 (tenure of the seventh Lok Sabha), the House adopted a motion rescinding the observations made against her by the privileges committee of the sixth Lok Sabha.

In the Rajya Sabha on the other hand, only three members have been expelled to date -Subramanian Swami of the Janata Party in 1976 on allegations of indulging in activities against the interest of the country, BJP’s Chakrapal Singh in 2005 in connection with the cash-for-query scam and Swami Sakshi Maharaj in 2006 for misuse of MPLAD funds, as exposed by a TV channel sting.

As for suspensions, there have been five so far in the Lok Sabha - four MPs were suspended for involvement in MPLADS scam, while one - Rajesh Majhi of the RJD-was suspended for 30 actual sittings of the Lok Sabha, beginning from August 30, 2007.



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