New Delhi: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi Saturday wrote to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla asking for time to speak in the House in order to respond to charges made against him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers. According to sources in the Congress, this is the second time Rahul has written to the speaker about this in as many days.
“I am making such a request again. I am seeking this permission under the conventions of Parliamentary practice, the constitutionally embedded rules of natural justice and Rule 357 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha”, said Rahul in the letter, released by the Congress Tuesday.
Rule 357 states: “A member may, with the permission of the Speaker, make a personal explanation although there is no question before the House, but in this case no debatable matter may be brought forward, and no debate shall arise.”
Rahul also cited the example of BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who in 2015 had invoked the same rule to give an explanation regarding comments made by Jyoritaditya Scindia (then with the Congress) in relation to him in Parliament.
Stating that the Parliament is bound by the “rules of natural justice”, Rahul wrote: “They are a guarantee against administrative arbitrariness and ensure that every person has a right to be heard in a cause with which they are concerned. Surely, you would agree that Parliament of all institutions cannot abdicate the responsibility to respect this right when it doesn’t suit the ruling regime. I hope the above satisfies your query and that you will allow me a right to reply in the Lok Sabha at the earliest.” In his letter, he also mentioned that he would be away on 20 and 21 March for a visit to Karnataka and Kerala.
Since the beginning of the second half of the Budget session of Parliament last week, the treasury benches have been demanding that Rahul Gandhi apologise for his ‘democracy in danger’ comments in the UK. The Congress retorted demanding that a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) be formed to look into the Adani group’s alleged financial irregularities.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)
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