Congress MP Adhir Ranjan seek time 3-4 days to study the Ethics Committee’s report over alleged “cash-for-query” case against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and said that this is for the first time that only 2 hours were given to read the 495 pages report, in Lok Sabha on Friday. However, BJP MP Dr. Heena V Gavit voiced support for the Ethics panel’s recommendations in her address, asserting that Mahua Moitra’s actions constituted a breach of the law and were detrimental to the reputation of MPs globally. Dr. Gavit emphasized Moitra’s conduct as a factor contributing to the erosion of MPs’ images worldwide.
Speaking over the issue, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan said, “We need more time to go through the whole report in order to have a concrete discussion as the reputation of the fellow member is at stake.”
He further stated that this is for the first time in the history of the parliament that opposition has been facilitated with only 2 hours to go through 490 pages report for discussion in the house.
On the other hand, BJP MP Dr. Heena V Gavit said that they have read the full report in 2 hours only.
She also said that she has violated the rights of being a member as the credentials are confidential, but Moitra shared it with another person.
#WATCH | Ethics Committee report on TMC MP Mahua Moitra | Congress MP Manish Tewari says, "… 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… pic.twitter.com/3eJVceRpOs
— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2023
Another Congress MP Manish Tewari questioned the Ethics Committee’s procedure regarding the report on TMC MP Mahua Moitra, stating, “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.”
He further raised concerns about the overriding of fundamental principles of natural justice, stating, “Can the procedure of the Ethics Committee override the fundamental principle of natural justice which is the organizing 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?”
Tewari highlighted the need for a fair process and adequate time for Moitra to present her side before any decision is made, stressing the significance of natural justice principles in the justice system.
Tewari cited Rule 316(d) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, emphasizing that the Ethics Committee’s role is to present recommendations in the form of a report.
He highlighted the committee’s ability to recommend guilt or innocence but underscored that the power to suggest punishment lies within the House.
#WATCH | Ethics Committee report on TMC MP Mahua Moitra | Congress MP Manish Tewari says, "I have carefully read Rule 316(d) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. It says that the recommendations of the Committee shall be presented in the form of a report…Ethics… pic.twitter.com/6hQxMe5YxB
— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2023
Tewari elaborated on the flaw in the Ethics Committee’s recommendation, noting that while it can advise on guilt or innocence, the House, functioning as a jury, holds the authority to determine the extent of punishment. He thereby asserted the fundamental flaw in the committee’s suggestion, delineating the limits of its jurisdiction vis-à-vis the House’s prerogative in determining the quantum of punishment.
The Ethics Committee’s report on the alleged “cash-for-query” case is tabled in Lok Sabha on Friday in which Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra is accused of alleged misusing her members credentials for money laundering.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra invoked the analogy of Mahabharata, stating, “Now, the people will witness the battle of Mahabharata.”
Addressing the media, Mahua expressed, “Mother Durga has arrived, we will see. These people who have started snatching clothes will now see the battle of Mahabharata.” Quoting poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, she recited, “Destruction befalls a person, conscience dies first” (Jab Naash Manuj par chaata hai, pehle vivek mar jaata hai).
The report, a part of Lok Sabha’s agenda for the ongoing Winter Session, remained unaddressed on the session’s opening day.
Allegations against Moitra, raised by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, prompted the Ethics Committee’s investigation, resulting in a 495 pages report recommending her expulsion from the 17th Lok Sabha for purportedly “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous, and criminal conduct.”
Sources divulged insights from the draft report, citing Moitra’s visits to the UAE from 2019 to 2023 and multiple logins from Dubai accessing her member portal credentials 47 times.