TMC’s Derek O’Brien suspended from Rajya Sabha for winter session for throwing rule book towards Chair

A motion for his suspension was moved by the government and approved with voice vote.

Derek O'Brien
TMC floor leader Derek O'Brien (ANI Photo)

TMC floor leader Derek O’Brien was suspended from the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday for the remaining part of the Winter session for the “grave misconduct” of hurling a Rajya Sabha rule book at the Chair.

The Winter session is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

On the first day of the session on November 29, twelve opposition members of Rajya Sabha were suspended for the entire session of Parliament for their “unruly” conduct in the previous session in August.

Before adjourning the proceedings for the day, Sasmit Patra, who was in the Chair, condemned the behaviour of O’Brien during the debate on a bill to link electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem.

A motion for his suspension was moved by the government and approved with voice vote.

During the debate on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill-2021, the opposition parties demanded a division of votes on their motion for sending it to a select committee. However, the demand was rejected with voice vote.

The Trinamool Congress floor leader cited rules for a division of votes even as Deputy Chairman Harivansh urged protesting members to go to their seats to enable the division.

However, opposition members continued to raise slogans in the Well of the House.

“…we have all the regards for the rules but the same thing you did on the farm laws you are doing today,” O’Brien said as he threw the Rajya Sabha rule book towards the Chair and announced a walkout from the House. The book fell on the table where officials sit along with the Secretary General.

The bill was subsequently passed with a voice vote.

Leader of the House Piyush Goyal condemned O’Brien’s conduct.

“The way TMC leader Derek O’Brien has thrown the rule book, this is not only the insult of the chair or the secretary general or the table or the House, it is an insult to the entire country,” Goyal said.

The act of the TMC leader would be criticised across the country, he added.

“They are doing this kind of politics in one state and if they pass on such bad traditions to the next generation, then I am afraid that there is a lot of danger to the democratic traditions of the country,” the Union minister said.

Later, Patra who was in the Chair said, “Honourable members, I would like to invite the attention of all of you to the gross misconduct of TMC floor leader Derek O’Brien in this august House a little earlier. Derek O’Brien raised some point of order to which honourable deputy chairman has duly responded.” “A little later Derek O’Brien flung the rule book furiously in the direction of the Chair. The rule book would have hit the chair, or secretary general or officials sitting at the table,” Patra said.

He further said the TMC leader has resorted to grave misconduct and gross violation of the rules of the House and norms of etiquette and conduct.

“Being a floor leader, Derek O’Brien, instead of setting high standards of conduct in the House, set a bad example and in the process denigrated the dignity and stature of this august House. This act of Derek O’Brien is highly condemnable,” Patra said.

Soon after, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion seeking his suspension from the House for the remainder of the Winter session for his “unruly and contemptuous behaviour, unbecoming of a member of Rajya Sabha by brazenly throwing the Rajya Sabha rule book towards the Chair” during the discussion on the Election Laws Amendment Bill 2021, thereby bringing disrepute and shame to this august House.

The motion was put to vote and approved by the House through voice vote. Opposition parties were not present during the vote as they had staged a walkout earlier.

“The motion is adopted. Derek O’Brien, therefore, stands suspended from the remaining part of the current session,” Patra announced.

Six of the 12 MPs suspended on November 29 are from the Congress, two each from TMC and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM.

The 12 suspended MPs are Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of the Congress; Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and Binoy Viswam of CPI.

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