Holding him guilty of putting the security of Parliament House and its occupants at risk, a parliamentary committee probing the videography issue has recommended suspension of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann for the rest of the winter session.
The committee in its report has held that the conduct of 43-year-old Mann, who had landed in a controversy in July after live-streaming from Parliament House on social media, was “highly objectionable” which shows him “bereft of basic knowledge, etiquettes and responsibilities of the office he holds”.
BJP member Kirit Somaiya, who heads the 9-member panel constituted in July, tabled the report in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. It rejected Mann’s apology saying his statements to the panel were contradictory with the MP from Sangrur denying the charge that he had breached the Parliament’s security arrangements.
The committee, however, left the security implications of the episode for a thorough review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Security and the Ministry of Home Affairs. It also said there are some serious issues about Parliament’s security, which need to be addressed on priority.
Among these issues, it said, are “poor quality” images captured by the CCTV. “The committee, therefore, after due deliberations, recommends that Bhagwant Mann, MP, may be suspended for the remaining period of the current session i.e. the tenth session of the 16th Lok Sabha,” it said. The session is scheduled to end on December 16.
The parliamentary panel said Mann did not take a coherent and consistent stand and it was only after being granted repeated opportunities to explain the “inherent contradictions” in his replies that he chose to correct himself. However, despite tendering unconditional apology he reiterated his earlier claims in which he denied that he breached security arrangements of Parliament House.
“The committee feels that the same contradictions are repeatedly surfacing again and again in Mann’s communications and therefore the tendering his apology to it cannot be treated as unconditional apology,” it said. Asking him to refrain from such misdemeanour, the committee in its recommendations impressed upon him the “utmost need for strict adherence to norms and standards of etiquette, due compliance of the rules of procedure and well settled rich traditions of Parliament….” Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had constituted the committee on July 25.
In a nearly 12-minute video, apparently shot on July 21, Mann gives a running commentary as his vehicle crosses security barricades and enters Parliament. Mann then enters a room where questions to be taken up inside Parliament were being sorted and describes the process.
Acting tough, Mahajan had said Mann’s videography of the complex had put its security “in peril” and asked him not to attend the House till a decision is taken on the matter. Anandrao Adsul, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Rata De, Thota Narasimham, Satya Pal Singh, KC Venugopal and P Venugopal were the other members of the committee which held 13 sittings to finalise its report.