On Wednesday jantakareporter.com was the first to report how the Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, was visibly pained to see the Congress chief whip Jyotraditya Scindia make references to the RSS, BJP MLA OP Sharma (Patiala House Court fame) and Nathuram Godse.
Well Mahajan’s displeasure didn’t just remain confined to her verbal interjection.
A day later when the LS secretariat issued the list of expunged words from Wednesday’s proceedings, thetc three words Mahajan had taken objection to.
And if her criticics felt this smacked of her biases towards the saffron party that she’s always been accused of, they would have been even more enraged to learn that the names of the eight JNU students identified by the HRD Minister Smriti Irani had stayed on the record.
This despite No 352 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha clearly stating that a member “shall not refer to any matter of fact on which a judicial decision is pending”.
The eight students Irani named in parliament are facing investigation by Delhi Police for their role in organising a protest in JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which “anti-national slogans” were allegedly raised. But none of them have been pronounced guilty yet by any court of law.
An official spokesperson of the secretariat told The Indian Express that expunging references to RSS, OP Sharma and Godse was “because of the context of its usage and not the word per se.”
And what about the decision to not expunge names that Irani stated? The spokesperson said, “The context in which the minister listed their names was relevant and therefore, there was no expunction.”
Mahajan appears to have exercised the Rule No 380 which stipulates, “If the Speaker is of opinion that words have been used in debate which are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, he may, in his discretion, order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House.”
Speaking on what constituted sedition, Scindia on Wednesday said that Delhi Police arrested Kanhaiya just because he had defeated the ABVP candidate in the students’ body elections.
He said, “Opposing RSS ideology is not sedition..Delhi Police arrested Kanhaiya Kumar just because he had defeated the ABVP candidate.”
No sooner had he finished making his point, the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan intejected saying, ‘baar baar RSS ka naam lene ki zaroorat nahi hai (There’s no need to make reference to RSS that often). You can make your point even without mentioning the RSS.”
The post of the Speaker is a constitutional appointment and the incumbant is expected to discharge his or her role with neutrality. But Mahajan has often been accused by opppsition parties of being biased in favour of her party, she won her last Lok Sabha election i.e. the BJP.