‘Breach of privilege’ notice against Kejriwal

Rajya Sabha member Sonal Mansingh has filed notice for a breach of privilege motion against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for remarking in the state assembly on December 17 that the three farm bills had been passed in the Upper House of Parliament without the legislation being put to vote.

The notice, filed on Wednesday, will be taken up by the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and sent to the Delhi assembly for action, if the chairperson feels it warrants action, a person aware of the details said on condition of anonymity.

The Rajya Sabha in September passed three farm bills with the proceedings of the House conducted amid uproar as Opposition parties protested against the legislation.

Expressing support for farmers who are protesting against the farm laws, Kejriwal on December 17 tore up the farm laws on the floor of the assembly and said: “What was the hurry to get farm laws passed in Parliament during the pandemic? It has perhaps happened for the first time that the three laws were passed without voting in Rajya Sabha…”

Mansingh, a classical dancer who is a nominated member of the Upper House wrote, in a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairperson that the Delhi chief minister’s statement “is not only a serious breach of privilege but also a blatant contempt of the House, which was a mischievous attempt to denigrate the character of the chairman, Rajya Sabha and the prestige of the upper house of Parliament of India”.

HT contacted the CM’s office but they did not comment on the matter.

According to a person aware of parliamentary procedure, a member of Parliament can move a breach of privilege motion against the Delhi CM. “In 1955 during a speaker’s conference it was decided that a motion of breach of privilege can be moved against another house,” the person said.

Constitutional expert PDT Achary said tearing up laws that have been passed did not amount to breach of privilege. “The questions that arises is (whether) the act of tearing a law that has been passed in Parliament and received the President’s assent is a breach of privilege. And if the chairperson finds it so, then it is not for the RS to take action; it has to be dealt with by the Delhi Assembly,” he said.

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