New Delhi [India], December 13 (ANI): Two Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MPs on Monday submitted a privilege notice against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi for his comments regarding the House during his interview to a private channel.
TMC's Jawahar Sircar and Mausam Noor submitted the notice in the Upper House. Notably, the former CJI Gogoi also came to the parliament in the morning today.
In the notice addressed to Rajya Sabha secretary general PC Mody, the two MPs said that Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi on December 9 made certain statements in a video interview to a news channel that were in contempt of the Rajya Sabha and constitute a breach of privilege of the Council.
"Under Rule 187 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, a member may, with the consent of the Chairman, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the Council or of a committee thereof. Under the said rule, I would like to raise a question of breach of privilege of the house," they added.
The notice further quoted the said objectionable comments made by Gogoi during his interview. "Addressing a question on his attendance in the Rajya Sabha, Gogoi stated--You ignore the fact that for one or two sessions, I had submitted a letter to the House saying due to COVID (on grounds of medical advice) I will not be attending the Session. Until a little before the last Winter Session, you could enter the RS after only a RT-PCR and personally I did not feel comfortable going there. Social distancing norms have been enforced, they are not being observed. The sitting arrangements I don't find very comfortable. I go to the RS when I feel like, when I think there are matters of importance on which I should speak. I am a nominated member, not governed by any party whip. Therefore, whenever the bell rings for the party members to come, it does not bind me. I go there of my choice and come out on my choice. I am an independent member of the House."
"Ranjan Gogoi stated, while addressing a question on joining the Rajya Sabha only after four months of his retirement as a Chief Justice of India ---What is this magic about RS? I would have been better off in terms of pay, emoluments if I had been a chairman of a tribunal. I am not taking a penny from the RS. The precedence and practice show that the Committee of Privileges has the jurisdiction to examine questions of breach of privilege against the council, from statements made either inside or outside the council," it added.
The notice copy further read, "Page 244 of Rajya Sabha at work states that each House also claims the right to punish contempt, that is, actions which, while not breaches of any specific privilege, obstruct or impede it in the performance of its functions, or are offences against its authority or dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its members or its officers."
"The Committee of Privileges, in their 13th Report, presented to the on the June 11, 1971, reported that it has long been recognised that to print or publish any books or libels reflecting upon the proceedings of the House or any member thereof, for, or relating to, his services therein is a high violation of the rights and privileges of the House. Words or writings reflecting on the House and on members of the House, have constantly been punished upon the principle 'that such acts tend to obstruct the House in the performance of its function by diminishing the respect due to it," it said.
The two TMC members further said, "The power of the House to punish its own members for their conduct outside the House which is prejudicial to its dignity and of its members and is inconsistent with the standard of behaviour expected of them, was exemplified in Report of the Committee of Privileges (Annexure 4) appointed to investigate the conduct and activities of Subramanian Swamy, them a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1976, exemplified the power of the House to punish its own members for their conduct outside the House which is prejudicial to its dignity and of its members and is inconsistent with the standard of behaviour expected of."
The Rajya Sabha MPs said that the statements made by Ranjan Gogoi prima facie constitute a breach of the Council as they undermine the dignity of the Rajya Sabha. In light of the rules and precedents cited above, the two TMC MPs requested Mody to intervene in this matter and refer this question of privilege to the Committee of Privileges.
Meanwhile, the winter session of the Parliament commenced on November 29 and is scheduled to conclude on December 23. (ANI)