NEW DELHI: A Rajya Sabha member introduced a private member's bill in the House on Friday seeking punishment of seven years for insulting Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters, days after BJP MP Pragya Thakur's controversial remarks praising Nathuram Godse.
The bill titled "Prevention Of Insult To The Father Of The Nation And Other Icons Of Freedom Movement Bill" was introduced by Javed Ali, a Samajwadi Party MP in the upper house.
According to the bill, whoever insults Mahatma Gandhi or other icons of the freedom movement shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of seven years.
The bill seeks to "prevent insult to the Father of the Nation and other icons of Freedom Movement or showing of respect to assassins of the Father of the Nation".
Giving the rationale behind proposed legislation, Ali said insults to Mahatma Gandhi in the recent years and other freedom fighters had increased and existing laws had failed to check these acts.
"In such scenario, it is unnecessary to undertake measures to ensure respect owed to freedom struggle and its heroes by providing and legislating harsh punishment to those who are trying to malign the image of the father of the nation and other icons of the freedom movement," Ali said in the statement of objects and reasons in the bill.
A private member's bill can be introduced by an MP other than a Union minister.
Such bill is introduced by the member in his personal capacity and normally such bills fail to get passed.
On November 28, Pragya Thakur was removed from the consultative committee on defence and was barred from attending BJP's parliamentary party meeting following her purported controversial remarks hailing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse, which she denied to make.
Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blasts case, had also earlier stirred similar controversy in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election with her "Godse-is-patriot" remark, following which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described it as "unfortunate" and said he would not be able to forgive her.