Suspension and Dismissal of MP
Context: The Rajya Sabha has suspended eight Opposition MPs for their “unruly” behaviour with Deputy Chairman Harivansh during the debate and voting on two farm sector Bills.
What is the reason for suspending an MP?
- Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha are to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly and if that proceeding are not conducted in a proper manner then they can force a Member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day), or to place him/her under suspension.
- Unlike the Lok Sabha speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a Member.
What are the rules under which the Speaker acts?
- Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business says: “The Speaker, if is of the opinion that the conduct of any Member is grossly disorderly, may direct such Member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any Member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”
- To deal with more recalcitrant Members, the Speaker may take recourse to Rules 374 and 374A.
- Rule 374 says:
- The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
- If a Member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the Member (naming such Member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
- A member suspended under this rule shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
What does rule 374A say?
- This clause was incorporated in the Rule Book on December 5, 2001.
- The intention was to skirt around the necessity of moving and adopting a motion for suspension.
- According to Rule 374A:
- Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a Member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such Member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
- On the Speaker announcing the suspension under this rule, the Member shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.”
What is the procedure for revocation of a Member’s suspension?
- While the Speaker is empowered to place a Member under suspension, the authority for revocation of this order is not vested in her.
- It is for the House to resolve on a motion to revoke the suspension.
What happens in Rajya Sabha?
- Like the Speaker in Lok Sabha, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book to “direct any Member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House.
- “Any Member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.”
- The Chairman may “name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business.
- In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the Member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
- The House may by another motion terminate the suspension.
- Unlike the Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a Member.