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Revocation of Suspension for All 14 Opposition MPs Precedes Brief Budget Session in Parliament

IndiaRevocation of Suspension for All 14 Opposition MPs Precedes Brief Budget Session in Parliament

The suspension of all 14 Opposition MPs, whose cases were under review by the privileges committee, has been lifted in anticipation of the upcoming short budget session of Parliament, scheduled to commence on Wednesday.

Pralhad Joshi, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, disclosed that the government had formally requested the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to rescind the suspensions, and both presiding officers agreed to the request. Addressing reporters, Joshi stated, “We spoke to the Speaker and the Chairman and requested both of them to speak with the concerned privileges committees, revoke the suspension and give them (the 14 suspended MPs) the opportunity to come to the House. Both of them agreed.”

The brief budget session, set to begin on Wednesday and conclude on February 9, will feature an interim budget presentation by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for April-May. The joint session for the President’s address will be held in the Lok Sabha, given the absence of a Central Hall in the new parliamentary building.

During the previous winter session, a record number of 146 Opposition MPs (100 in the Lok Sabha and the remainder in the Rajya Sabha) faced suspension for protesting in the Well of the Houses, demanding a government statement on the breach of Parliament security. The protest was prompted by an incident on December 13 when two individuals carrying smoke canisters stormed the Lok Sabha chamber.

The upcoming session is expected to witness vehement protests against the continued alleged targeted harassment of Opposition leaders by government agencies, such as the Enforcement Directorate. Instances involving Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and the family of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad are currently under the scrutiny of the ED.

While most MPs faced suspensions only for the remainder of the last session, automatically revoking their suspensions, the cases of 14 MPs (3 from Lok Sabha and 11 from Rajya Sabha) were referred to the privileges committee for serious misconduct. Earlier recommendations by the Lok Sabha privileges committee for withdrawal of suspension were followed by a similar decision by the Rajya Sabha committee on Tuesday. The final step involves the heads of the Houses (Speaker and Chairman) approving the recommendations, leading to the revocation of the suspensions.

Minister Joshi emphasized that while the suspensions would be withdrawn, all party leaders were urged to ensure compliance with the rule against bringing placards or similar materials into the House. He warned that failure to adhere to the rules would force the Chair to take action. This statement came after the customary all-party meeting held a day before the budget session.

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