Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Mass Suspension Of MPs Is A Blow To Parliamentary Democracy

The suspension of more than 140 MPs during Parliament’s winter session has drawn serious criticism from experts and the Opposition. The manner of the MPs’ suspension sets an alarming precedent
January 4, 2024
Suspended MPs during the winter session of the Parliament. Photo: X.com (Twitter)

The old and the new stand, staring silently at each other. Each with its own memories. The rotund—a relic of British rule in India—stands with almost a century of history written within its walls. The deltoid—projected as a modern marvel—stands with history being written in recent times. In between, but at a little distance, sits a giant statue of Mahatma Gandhi in meditation. Again silent, as if oblivious to the changing environs. Parliamentarians frequently converge in its shadow, mostly when in protest.

This was the spot that witnessed the aftermath of another bit of ‘history’. The Trinamool Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, chose it for a ‘silent protest’ after being suspended from the House. It was near here that other MPs, similarly suspended, sat in protest on the steps to the entry of the new Parliament building. And where O’Brien’s colleague from the Lok Sabha, Kalyan Banerjee, mimicked the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankhar, which—among others—Congress MP Rahul Gandhi recorded on his mobile phone.

The protesters were part of a total of 146 Opposition MPs suspended for allegedly violating rules during the winter session of Parliament, when they demanded a discussion on the Parliament security breach that took place on December 13.

Through the decades, the old Parliament building too has been witness to several incidents when its members have been accused of violating rules while holding protests within its sanctums. Both Houses have, on several occasions, reverberated with slogans. Members have rushed into the Well of the House, some have even threatened the Chair, and hurled paper balls and small objects. As a result, disorderly protesters have faced disciplinary action, including suspension at times.

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Jayanta Bhattacharya

Journalist. Curious about astronomy, cinema, communications, digital media, geostrategy, human rights, military, tech, and nature.