BHUBANESWAR: Congress legislator Naba Kishore Das on Tuesday was suspended from the Assembly for a week on charge of watching objectionable clips on his mobile phone in the House on Monday even as the Opposition staged a walkout in protest.
Requesting Speaker Niranjan Pujari to reconsider the decision, the Opposition members said the suspended MLA should have been given a chance to defend himself before announcement of the action against him. The Speaker also referred the matter to the Ethics Committee for a probe. Speaker announced suspension of Das after a motion brought by Government chief whip Anant Prasad Das was passed in the House by voice vote during the Zero Hour. BJD member Pramila Mallik, who had raised the issue on Monday, demanded that Das should be expelled from the Assembly as his action has lowered the dignity of the House.
Congress members rushed to the Well shouting slogans after the Speaker announced his decision. The House was adjourned till 12 noon. When the House reassembled, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said before taking any action against a member on the basis of allegation made by another MLA, an inquiry should be conducted and the accused legislator given an opportunity to present his position.
Any action should be taken against the member, if he is found guilty by the inquiry and not before that, Mishra said. Recalling an old ruling by the Chair in the House on March 15, 1963, he said a member had levelled serious allegation against another MLA. The ruling was that any member charging allegation against another should have enough evidence and the House must be in possession of it before action is initiated, the Leader of Opposition said adding that he disapproved making allegation without evidence to substantiate.
Supporting Mishra, KV Singhdeo (BJP) said the allegation should be inquired into and action taken after the member is found guilty. Stating that Congress MLA should be given an opportunity to be heard, Singhdeo requested the Speaker to re-examine and reconsider the ruling. CPM MLA Laxman Munda also supported the stand of Congress and BJP on the matter.
The Speaker, however, ignored the demand of the Opposition members to reconsider the decision. Not happy with the response, Mishra led a walkout by Congress members. Mishra told mediapersons that Congress will boycott the House till the decision is reconsidered. The BJP members also staged a walk-out in protest.
Describing the decision as undemocratic, Das said outside the House that he would have urged the Speaker after the Zero Hour to give him an opportunity to clarify his stand. “As the BJD has brute majority in the House, it can suspend anybody by levelling allegation,” he said.
Meanwhile, an all-party meeting convened by the Speaker to end the deadlock in the House failed to resolve the issue. “The discussion remained inconclusive,” Leader of the Opposition said.