Extension of Rajani Patil's suspension 'gross parliamentary misdemeanour': Kharge
Dhankhar said the suspension of Patil for filming proceedings of the House has been extended beyond the Budget session
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday raised the issue of the extension of suspension of Congress MP Rajani Patil beyond the Budget session with Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, calling it "gross parliamentary misdemeanour" and a "blatant violation" of the rules of procedure.
Dhankhar said the suspension of Patil for filming proceedings of the House has been extended beyond the Budget session after taking inputs from the privileges committee which is investigating the matter.
He said the committee in its meeting held on March 27 sought an extension of time till the first week of the Monsoon session to complete the investigation.
Criticising the extension of suspension in a letter to Dhankhar, Congress president Kharge said meting out such a "disgraceful treatment" to Patil is a "gross insult" to a devoted woman parliamentarian.
"In such a situation, I cannot help myself but to place on record in strongest possible terms my grave displeasure and anguish, which is shared by my party colleagues as well as my other colleagues of 19 like minded opposition parties in both Houses of Parliament, over this gross parliamentary misdemeanour," he said.
Congress MP Patil hoped that the Rajya Sabha chairman would do justice to her as the Parliament session is over but her suspension is not. She said that Dhankhar has his own rights and he can use them, but asked "What about my rights as an MP".
Kharge said he was "most distressed" with Dhankhar's observation continuing the suspension of Patil at least till the Monsoon session.
"You will recall that floor leaders of 13 opposition parties in Rajya Sabha met your good self today morning and made a request that the suspension of Rajani Patil may be revoked. You, however, chose to ignore this collective request made by floor leaders of opposition parties," he said.
Kharge pointed to the provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Upper House.
"If a member is so named by the Chairman he shall forthwith put the question on a motion being made, no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed, that the member (naming him) be suspended from the service of the Council for a period not exceeding the remainder of the Session: Provided that the Council may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated," he said.
In view of the above provisions, it is well evident that continuation of suspension of Rajani Patil well beyond the current Budget session is a "blatant violation" of the Rules of Procedure as also well established parliamentary traditions, Kharge said.
"Such a development is most unfortunate and unprecedented in the parliamentary history. Rajani Patil is a very diligent and a committed member who performed her duties with utmost devotion both inside the House as well as in public service," Kharge said.
The extended suspension would deprive the member of her valued contribution to parliamentary committees of which she is member and would be a loss not only to her but also to the very institution of parliamentary committees system, he said.
Sharing Kharge's letter on Twitter, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "My colleague Rajani Patil continues to remain suspended from the Rajya Sabha. LoP and Congress President, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge ji, has just written to the Chairman on this grave injustice being done to her by the Modi regime. This is truly unprecedented!"