NEW DELHI: As the BJP has sharpened its attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his ‘democracy under siege’ remarks and demanded a special parliamentary committee to consider his expulsion from the Lok Sabha, experts have said that a panel similar to the one that probed 2008 cash-for-votes scam can’t be formed under Rule 223 as both cases are not similar. PDT Achary, who served as the Lok Sabha Secretary General when the UPA government set up a special Parliamentary committee in 2005 on the cash-for-query scam, pointed out that a special committee is formed when cases of serious nature are involved.
In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said that he is giving notice under Rule 223 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in House on the ‘contemptuous and unbecoming behaviour of the MP over his remarks at Cambridge University.
Dubey also sought to set up a special Parliamentary committee on the lines of the one formed in 2008 to probe the cash-for-votes scam. Speaking to this newspaper, Constitutional expert Achary said a notice under Rule 223 can only be referred to the privilege committee.
Rule 223 allows a member to raise a question, with the Speaker’s permission in Parliament, on the matter of breach of privilege committed by a member or a committee. “Rule 223 discusses the question of Parliamentary privilege. Dubey has already given a breach of privilege notice against Rahul Gandhi over his February 7 remarks on PM in Parliament."
"Under rule 223, Dubey cannot ask for a separate committee to probe Rahul’s remarks,” he said. Achary said in 2005, a committee led by Pawan Kumar Bansal was constituted after a sting operation exposed 11 MPs involved in a ‘Cash-for-Query’ scam accepting cash in exchange for raising questions in Parliament. Out of the 11, six MPs were from BJP. “A special committee can be formed after a motion is moved in the House. The panel will be given investigative power by the House. Investigative power is within the House’s ambit,” he said.
Cash-for-query scam an example
In 2005, a Committee led by Pawan Kumar Bansal was constituted after a sting operation exposed 11 MPs involved in a ‘Cash-for-Query’ scam accepting cash in exchange for raising questions in the Parliament. Out of the 11, six MPs were from BJP. Similarly, a Parliamentary Committee was formed in 2008 to probe
‘cash-for-vote’ scam . (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)