Here is an explanation on why Mahua Moitra has been expelled from Lok Sabha

Speaker Om Birla put Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi’s proposal to expel the member before the House after hour-long deliberations, and it was approved by a voice-vote in which the Opposition did not participate because of its walk-out.

Here is an explanation on why Mahua Moitra has been expelled from Lok Sabha

Photo: ANI

After two adjournments and a walk-out by the Congress-led Opposition, the Lok Sabha on Friday expelled Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra from the House, after voting on its Ethics Committee’s recommendation upholding cash-for-query charges against her.

Speaker Om Birla put Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi’s proposal to expel the member before the House after hour-long deliberations, and it was approved by a voice-vote in which the Opposition did not participate because of its walk-out.

The Opposition left the House just as Mr Joshi requested for a vote on the proposal. The proposal said the member’s conduct had implications for national security and her continuance in the Lok Sabha was untenable and she should be expelled.


Ms Moitra was not given a chance to speak on the Committee’s recommendation as she had “utilised” her opportunity to give her case before the Committee. Agenda before the House on Friday afternoon was just to consider the Committee’s report, and not to go into other issues, the Speaker said.

Quoting instances when members proposed to be expelled were not given any chance to speak, Mr Birla said earlier Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had expelled 10 members and did not give them any chance to speak, as he maintained the inquiry committee had given them a hearing.

Leader of the Congress Party Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, his party colleague Manish Tewari, as also Trinamool members Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Kalyan Banerjee were invited to speak and they vehemently opposed the expulsion proposal, stating the committee had not followed principles of natural justice by denying Ms Moitra a chance to cross-examine those making charges against her.

As soon as the House met for the day, there was a commotion as the Ethics Committee’s report was listed for presentation at Item No 7. When Mr Chowdhury tried to raise the issue, the Speaker said it was Question Hour and let proceedings go on. Mr Chowdhury said a woman MP should be allowed to present her case. When he persisted, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12 noon.

At noon, when official papers were laid on the table of the House, Ethics Committee Chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar presented the 490-page report before the House. There was slogan-shouting by the Congress and other Opposition members and slowly they entered the well of the House. Mr Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the Chair, adjourned the House till 2 pm.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Joshi, introduced the subject at 2 pm and said the House had before it the Ethics Committee’s report regarding unethical conduct of the Trinamool Congress member, following an inquiry on a complaint by BJP member Nishikant Dubey.

The Speaker said it was a painful moment but there were moments in the 75-year history of the House when it had to take harsh decisions to maintain its dignity and discharge its duty towards the nation. Mr Birla said he was allowing an half an hour discussion on the issue.

Mr Chowdhury said the Speaker is the custodian of the House. The report was laid at 12 noon and it was humanly impossible for members to go through the 106 page report, which together with annexures ran into 490 pages, and speak on it.

The Congress leader demanded that the members be given three to four days to go through the report and then only “we can have a good discussion.” Raising issues of natural justice, he said the person against whom the complaint has been made should get a chance to speak. This would send a good message.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister objected to this saying no such chance was given by the earlier Speaker, Mr Chatterjee.

Mr Tewari, who gave the Congress stand, said for the first time he was asked to speak on a document without going into it. Raising issues, he said “can the Ethics Committee procedures override principles of natural justice,” as she was not allowed to present her case. She was also not allowed to cross-examine those making charges against her.

Mr Tewari said the Committee had gone beyond its powers, saying that it could only say whether a person is guilty or innocent, but not recommend expulsion. He said the House had sat on Friday as judges and jury but for such an occasion, parties could not give whips to their members, which they had given. The whips should be withdrawn as members would not be able to vote according to their conscience.

The Speaker rejected his argument and maintained the House was not a court, but Parliament. He said he was only presiding over the House, and a decision was to be taken by the House.

Raising another issue, Mr Tewari said the MPs’ conduct in Parliament could not be questioned, and they enjoyed absolute immunity

Giving the BJP’s view, Dr Heena V Gavit said there were instances earlier when MPs were expelled for bribery. She said Ms Moitra was accused of asking questions in the Lok Sabha at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani who had interest in five sectors.

Fifty of the 61 questions asked by Ms Moitra related to those five sectors. She had accepted her account was logged-in from Dubai 47 times. Hiranandani had stated in an affidavit that she had given him her log-in access. In four cities, her log-in was accessed simultaneously. This issue was of Parliamentary dignity and procedures and the Trinamool Congress member’s conduct had brought bad name to Indian MPs across the world, Dr Gavit said.

It was being said that Indian MPs took up issues loudly if they got money, she said. Dr Gavit said the Committee’s proposal should be accepted to send a message that if members violate Rules, they can be expelled.

The Speaker called Mr Kalyan Banerjee to speak for the Trinamool Congress. Mr Bandyopadhyay said the report was already in the media. Mr Benerjee said a fair trial required that the affected person be heard. The House was acting like a quasi-judicial body, he said.

He said Hiranandani’s affidavit could not be relied upon; he must come and say it was his affidavit. The Supreme Court maintained the affected person must be heard for natural justice. In Pawan Kumar Bansal’s case, all persons were examined.

Mr Banerjee said the Committee concluded cash was taken, but where was the cash. He said the House can only suspend a member and not expel; the Constitution did not provide for that. The Speaker said the House was discussing the committee’s report.

Mr Giridhari Yadav (JD-U) said Hiranandani should have been called by the Committee. Ms Aparajita Sarangi (BJP), a member of the Ethics Committee, said the MP was given chance to speak before the Committee and her conduct was unbecoming of an MP.