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‘Snoopgate’, ‘corrupt’ unparliamentary but not banned, says LS speaker after opposition hits out

Speaker clarification comes after opposition furore over an updated list of words declared unparliamentary, which was released by the Lok Sabha Secretariat Wednesday.

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New Delhi: Words like ‘snoopgate’, ‘jumlajeevi’, ‘anarchist’, dictatorial’, ‘corrupt’, ‘corruption’, ‘black day’ and even common expressions like ‘chamchas’, ‘coward’, ‘foolish’, ‘eyewash’ are not “banned” from use in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha but considered unparliamentary and hence expunged from past records, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said Thursday.

His statement came after the opposition hit out at an updated list of words declared unparliamentary, which was released by the Lok Sabha Secretariat a day earlier.

However, Birla reiterated that it was the prerogative of the chair presiding over the proceedings of the House — be it the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha or Vidhan Sabha in the states — to declare words they consider unfit for use in the House and get it expunged from the records.

“The chair has the right,” Birla said at a press conference.

The speaker was forced to call a press conference and issue a statement following a barrage of criticism from the opposition that called it an attempt by the NDA government to prevent them from critiquing it.

From the innocuous ‘chokra’ to ‘snoopgate’, ‘jumlajeevi’, ‘anarchist’, dictatorial’, ‘corrupt and corruption’, ‘chamchas’, ‘coward’, ‘foolish’, ‘eyewash’, ‘goons’, ‘traitors’ and ‘beggars’ to ‘black day’ — these are some of the words and expressions that have been declared “unparliamentary”’ and expunged in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as well as legislatures of state assemblies including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat Wednesday released a booklet. These words and expressions used by MPs during debates and discussions in the Parliament last year were declared “unparliamentary” by the chair and were expunged from parliamentary records.

The development comes just three days before the Monsoon session of the Parliament is scheduled to start, and also the Presidential elections Monday.

Some of the other words that parliamentarians cannot use during debates and discussions include ashamed, bloody, cheat, goons, ‘tanasahi’, pimp, theft, traitors, touts, coward, crocodile tears and donkey. Even expressions like hypocrisy, cruel, drama, fake, false, foolish, eyewash, gag, heckle, heckler, incompetent, lie, rubbish, scammed, shame, worst, black, black day, black marketing, ‘dogli’, ‘dohra charitr’ and lazy are considered unparliamentary.

Words declared “unparliamentary” cannot be used by MPs and MLAs during debates inside the Parliament or state assemblies. However, a final call on whether a particular term should be expunged from the records is taken by the chair – be it the speaker in Lok sabha or state legislature or the chairman in Rajya Sabha.

Certain words used by parliamentarians, casting aspersions on the chair (Lok Sabha speaker of Rajya Sabha chairman) were also declared unparliamentary in 2021 and expunged from the records.

Also read: Monsoon Parliament session: LS Speaker calls meeting of floor leaders on July 16

Criticism by the opposition

Opposition parties have severely criticised the ban on certain words. with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying there is now a “new dictionary for new India”.

The All India Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, said this was a case of the ruling Congress losing the plot and crying foul.

“Interestingly the words that have received the new tag of UNPARLIAMENTARY are all adjectives used for the incumbent. Is this a preemptive step to prevent shame? Forced praises are clearly not coming @BJP4India’s way. When they begin to lose the plot; they cry foul,” the party tweeted.

Senior officials at the Lok Sabha Secretariat, who did not want to be quoted, however, termed this a routine affair.

“We bring out a booklet compiling words and expressions declared unparliamentary every year. It’s nothing new. We are not giving any directions. The booklet we released yesterday is of 2021. We don’t know why this controversy is being kicked up,” said an official.

Not only Parliament, even state legislatures have done it

It’s not only Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The booklet also has a list of words and expressions declared unparliamentary by different state legislatures last year. For instance, the Karnataka legislative council has declared ‘chamcha’, ‘chamachagiri’, ‘chelas’ as unparliamentary and expunged them from their records.

Punjab legislative assembly declared ‘lollipops’, ‘mamas’ (maternal uncle) used during a debate in March 2021 as unparliamentary.

Even the word ‘show off’ was declared unparliamentary by the Karnataka legislative council in March 2021.

Also read: Modi govt plans annual meeting with state chief secys, to ‘talk problems & thrash out fixes’


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