The eight MPs, including Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien and Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, however, continued with their protests and refused to leave the House despite repeated instructions from the chair. It led to multiple adjournments, with the proceedings being washed out without any business being transacted on Monday.
The other MPs are Rajeev Satav, Syed Nasir Hussain and Ripun Bora of Congress, Dola Sen of Trinamool, and K K Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem of CPM. Expressing deep anguish, Naidu said, “It pained me a lot because what happened (during passage of the farm bills on Sunday) was unfortunate, unacceptable and condemnable. It was a very bad day for the Rajya Sabha.”
He said some members, violating all Covid-19 physical distancing norms, came to the well of the House, climbed on the secretary general’s table and broke mics, while also hurling papers and the rulebook at the deputy chairperson. “Are these parliamentary standards?” he asked.
While the opposition decided to protest the suspensions and call on President Ram Nath Kovind, this is the second such suspension of a significant number of MPs in recent years. In 2010, seven MPs — four from the Samajwadi Party, one each from JD(U), RJD and LJP — were suspended for fracas during passage of the women’s reservation bill. The code of conduct adopted by the House in 2005 lays down several guidelines relating to behaviour of members.
Naidu said Harivansh later informed him that he was abused with objectionable words, physically threatened and could also have been harmed. “If the marshals had not been called on time, what would have happened to the deputy chairperson? I am worried,” he added.
If the opposition — which wanted voting on a resolution to send the two farm bills to a select committee — had the numbers, they should have voted. The deputy chairman repeatedly requested the members to go to their seats, participate in the debate and move amendments. “Obviously, in view of the continuous disruption, division could not have taken place,” Naidu said.
He also rejected the resolution moved by leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and 46 other members for Harivansh’s removal because it was not in the proper format and without the requisite 14-day notice.
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion for suspension of the eight MPs for gross disorderly conduct, especially with the chair, and “bringing disrepute” to the House. It was adopted by voice vote amid continuing protests from the opposition.
The protesting MPs, however, did not leave the House despite being asked by Naidu to do so. O’Brien, in fact, had earlier in the proceedings also refused to leave the House after Naidu named him.