Parliament Winter Session 2023: Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra expelled from Lok Sabha
New Delhi, India: Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra was on Friday expelled from the Lok Sabha after a discussion on the report of the Ethics Committee in the 'cash for query' that was tabled in the Lower House today.
Mahua Moitra, who was not allowed to speak during the discussion inside the House, the Trinamool leader read out her statement outside the Lok Sabha.
She said that the Ethics committee broke every rule.
Opposition staged a walkout after the Lok Sabha adopted the motion to expel the TMC MP.
The House was then adjourned till December 11.
Speaker Om Birla said, "...This House accepts the conclusions of the Committee that MP Mahua Moitra's conduct was immoral and indecent as an MP. So, it is not appropriate for her to continue as an MP..."
The Ethics Committee report probing 'Unethical Conduct' of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP had recommended that Moitra "may be expelled" from the Lok Sabha and called for an "intense, legal, institutional inquiry" by the central government in a "time-bound manner".
"The serious misdemeanours on the part of Mahua Moitra calls for severe punishment. The Committee, therefore, recommend that Mahua Moitra, MP may be expelled from the Membership of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha," the report read.
Participating in the debate today over the Ethics Panel report in the lower house, Manish Tewari, who was nominated by the Congress to speak on the issue questioned whether the procedure of the Ethics Committee overrides the fundamental principle of Natural Justice.
"Can the procedure of the Ethics Committee override the fundamental principle of natural justice which is the organising principle of every justice system in the world? From what we read in the newspaper, the one who has been made an accused - she was not able to complete her deposition. What kind of procedure is this?"
He further said that the Ethics Committee can recommend whether a Member is guilty or not but it cannot decide what would be the exact punishment.
"This is a fundamental distinction. That power lies with this House. The Ethics Committee can best make recommendations about whether a person is guilty or innocent. It is with the House to decide what would be the quantum of punishment. Here recommendation of the Commitee is fundamentally flawed," he said.
Congress MP further raised a point that can a party direct its MPs to vote in a particular way in an impeachment procedure.
"Can a whip be issued? because this is like directing a judge to decide on a particular matter. This is a complete travesty of Justice. This House should be adjourned. All whips should be withdrawn," he said.
Manish Tewari said that today the Parliament has turned into a court to which Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla replied, "No this is not a court. This is a House. I am not a judge, the House will decide what to do."
Congress MP continued on the Whip issue and said," When according to a 10th schedule a whip is issued then it is completely anti to the principle of Natural Justice. The fundamental principles of natural justice are thrown to the winds in this House."
"Never have I ever seen in my entire life that a House is sitting like a judicial body. would not have fallen if all member would have been allowed to study the on the floor of the House said, "
Congress party demands more time to read the papers. I am stating this on a common sense basis. The report was tabled at around 12 noon, How can such a huge report be studied in such a short period of time. Is that even humanly possible?"
He further stated that according to the principle of Natural Justice, TMC MP Mahua Moitra should be given a chance to speak for herself.
"Please allow another three to four more days. In the principle of Natural Justice, th TMC MP should be given a chance. Don't let this new Parliament building become a symbol of grace," he said.
Union Parliamentary Pralhad Joshi had moved the motion to consider the report of the Ethics commitee which was further taken up for the debate.
Reiterating the party's demand, Congress MP Manish Tewari in Lok Sabha said, "As Adhir Ranjan said, heavens would not have fallen had we given 3-4 days to take cognisance of this report and then keep our opinions before the House because it is going to make a decision on a very sensitive matter.
Questioning the procedure followed by the Ethics panel, Manish Tewari said, "Can the procedure of the Ethics Committee override the fundamental principle of natural justice which is the organising principle of every justice system in the world? From what we read in the newspaper, the one who has been made an accused - she was not able to complete her deposition. What kind of procedure is this?"
He further said that the report of the Ethics Panel is fundamentally flawed.
The Ethics Committee report probing 'Unethical Conduct' of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra in the "cash for query" case that was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday recommended that Moitra "may be expelled" from the Lok Sabha and called for an "intense, legal, institutional inquiry" by the central government in a "time-bound manner"."
"The serious misdemeanours on the part of Mahua Moitra call for severe punishment. The Committee, therefore, recommend that Mahua Moitra, MP may be expelled from the Membership of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha," the report read.
Earlier the leaders from the Congress and Trinamool questioned the investigation.
TMC MP Nusrat Jahan said, "Has it actually been fairly conducted? We don't know. Because this Government hasn't been really fair when it comes to women. We have asked for a hard copy of the report. Our leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay has asked for it."
Claiming that no proper procedure was followed by the Ethics committee over its adoption of the report which led to recommending the expulsion of TMC MP Mahua Moitra from Lok Sabha, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor called it a 'disgrace' and said that this is nothing but a political vendetta by BJP.
Mahua Moitra is facing the heat of the "cash-for-query" allegations against her. The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee had recently recommended her expulsion from the Lower House.
The draft report was adopted by a 6:4 majority in the panel last month. As per the sources, the draft report on Moitra's cash-for-questions case reveals that she visited the UAE four times from 2019 to 2023 while her login was accessed several times.
Six members of the panel voted in favour of the report, including suspended Congress MP Preneet Kaur. Four members of the panel belonging to opposition parties submitted dissent notes.
The opposition members termed the report a "fixed match" and said the complaint filed by Dubey, which the panel reviewed, was not supported by a "shred of evidence".