LS Speaker holds Rules Committee meeting to discuss ways to discipline erring MPs

New Delhi: With the Lok Sabha failing to function properly due to disruptions, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday chaired a meeting of the Rules Committee during which a law to punish erring members with disciplinary action was favoured, Parliamentary sources said.

The Committee discussed quantum of punishment in the form of suspension that could be awarded to those causing disruptions, the sources said after the meeting which was attended by representatives of major political parties.

The meeting deliberated upon the number of days a member should be suspended-one day, three days or five days-if he or she disrupts the House, the sources said. At the meeting, the Speaker was authorised to prepare a draft which should be placed in the House, they said.

Congress representative told the meeting that the new measures could be implemented from the next Lok Sabha which would be in place by May next year but some others were in favour of implementing the new measures urgently so that the House can run smoothly, said sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

The House has not been functioning properly ever since the Winter Session began on December 11, as members from some parties have been creating uproar over various issues.

The Speaker on Friday told ANI that she expected self-discipline from the MPs, who are the elected representatives of the people.

“We are trying to make sure that the House functions. We are talking to all parties for co-operation to support for functioning house,” she said.

Asked whether there was any need to initiate disciplinary action against members who disrupt the House, Mahajan said there is no such need in the current times.

“There is a need for self-discipline. All Parliamentarians have come here after getting the mandate from the people. They are representatives of the people. It’s everybody’s responsibility to ensure that the House functions,” she added.

Referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s comments that his party was ready to discuss the instant Triple Talaq Bill on December 27, the Speaker said: “I believe that on 27th the House will function smoothly.”

The instant triple talaq was taken up in Parliament in August last year after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering “talaq” three times in quick succession.

In a landmark 3-2 verdict, the top court found the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary”, and disagreed that Triple Talaq was an integral part of religious practice.

The Triple Talaq Bill was taken up earlier this year in the House during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. However, owing to lack of consensus, the Bill could not be passed.

Subsequently, an ordinance was issued by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet in September.

On Monday, a fresh Bill, which prohibits divorce of Muslim couples by pronouncing ‘talaq’ (divorce) three times by their husbands, was first introduced in the Lok Sabha to replace the ordinance issued in September.

Under this proposed law, Muslim men giving instant triple talaq will attract imprisonment of three years.