Mahua Moitra's likely expulsion set to rock Winter Session of Parliament : The Tribune India

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Mahua Moitra's likely expulsion set to rock Winter Session of Parliament

Opposition for debate on ethics panel report | Ready for structured discussion: Government

Mahua Moitra's likely expulsion set to rock Winter Session of Parliament

Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Pralhad Joshi & Arjun Meghwal, with Cong MPs Jairam Ramesh, Pramod Tiwari and Gaurav Gogoi during all-party meet. MUKESH AGGARWAL

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, December 2

Anticipated expulsion of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in the “cash-for-query” scam, as recommended by the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, is set to rock the proceedings of the winter session, the last full sitting of Parliament ahead of the 18th General Election in 2024.

The matter resonated at the all-party meeting convened by the government on Saturday and chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh ahead of the session with TMC leaders demanding a discussion on the report before a decision on Moitra’s expulsion was taken. The government, which has listed 18 Bills for passage through 15 sittings between December 4 and 22, assured readiness for a structured debate on all issues. Among the Bills are two that aim to extend the provisions of women’s reservation law to Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry, and three to replace the existing criminal laws. At the meeting, the RSP and AIADMK opposed the imposition of Hindi by naming draft criminal laws in Hindi — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) and Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) — which seek to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure respectively.

Wider ramifications

Expulsion from Parl is an extremely serious punishment and has very wide ramifications — Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress

Also on the agenda for the session is The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, to regulate the appointment, service conditions and office terms of the CEC and ECs. The winter session will further see passage of supplementary demands for grants, under which the government is likely to seek additional allocation for fertilizer, food and fuel subsidies and MGNREGA.

But the Moitra issue looks set to dominate proceedings with the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee report, recommending the MP’s expulsion for allowing an industrialist to use her Parliament login to ask questions pertaining to another business house, listed for tabling on the first day of the session. It was earlier adopted by the committee.

TMC leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sudeep Bandopadhyay and Derek O Brien demanded the House discuss the report before deciding the future of Moitra. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also wrote to LS Speaker Om Birla terming the recommended action against Moitra “extremely serious”.

Chowdhury said this was the first expulsion ever recommended by the ethics committee and would have wider ramifications. The Congress MP argued there was no clear definition of unethical conduct and a code of conduct was needed to be formulated. Further there was no clear demarcation in the roles envisaged for the Privileges Committee and the Ethics Committee on exercising penal powers. Deeper deliberations on these powers were needed, the Congress leader said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said 30 leaders of 23 parties attended the meeting today. “We requested the leaders to maintain the atmosphere required for structured debates. Any discussion can be held under rules and procedures. The government is ready for a structured debate,” Joshi said.

The session will commence right after the outcome of Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, with the results sure to influence the proceedings.

18 Bills lined up

Govt to table 18 Bills, including 3 to replace existing criminal laws & 2 extending 33% women quota to J&K and Puducherry

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