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AAP’s Raghav Chadha claims that consent of MPs is not required for including their names in proposal for Select Committee, rules say otherwise: Details

Any member who wants to refer a proposed bill to a Select Committee under Rule 70(2)(b) for amendments, he or she gives names of the members to be included in the Committee.

On 7th August, a bizarre situation sprung up in Rajya Sabha when five Members of Parliament (MPs) accused Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha of forging their signatures and not taking consent for giving their names for a select committee to scrutinise the now-passed National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

When deputy chairman of the house Harivansh Narayan Singh announced the names Raghav Chadha had given for the Select Committee, five MPs, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) S Phangnon Konyak, Narhari Amin and Sudhanshu Trivedi, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MP M Thambidurai and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Sasmit Patra said their consent was not taken before their names were included. All five of them demanded to move a Privilege Motion against him.

Replying to the allegations, Chadha claimed, “No signature is needed. When I get a notice, I will reply to it.”

There was a video of Congress MP Jairam Ramesh furiously discussing something with Raghav Chadha immediately after the issue was raised in the house. It is being speculated that the Congress party, AAP’s ally from the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, itself is not pleased with what Chadha is accused of doing.

However, Congress MP Shakti Singh Gohil came out in support of Chadha and said, “There is a law that if I am moving (the proposal to send Delhi NCT Amendment Bill to Select Committee), there is no compulsion to take consent of the member who has to be in the Committee. If the member does not want to be on the Committee, their name will be removed automatically. There is no provision to take the signature of any member whose name has been mentioned in the proposal.”

Rajya Sabha rule on Select Committee constitution

While Chadha and AAP’s allies are claiming no signature is required and therefore, Raghav Chadha did nothing against the rules, the rules of Rajya Sabha indicate otherwise.

Chapter IX of the ‘Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha)’ [PDF] deals with Legislation. Clause 2 of Rule 72 under sub-section (c) of Chapter IX reads, “No member shall be appointed to a Select Committee if he is not willing to serve on the Committee. The mover shall ascertain whether a member proposed to be named by him is willing to serve on the Committee.”

AAP's Raghav Chadha claims that consent of MPs is not required for including their names in proposal for Select Committee, rules say otherwise: Details
Source: Rajya Sabha/Sansad.in

The last sentence of the clause which says that the “mover shall ascertain whether a member proposed to be named by him is willing to serve on the committee” essentially makes it incumbent upon Raghav Chadha to take consent from the members he is naming in the motion. It is not evident that this rule was broken by the AAP leader since the MPs themselves said that their consent had not been taken prior to the motion being moved.

That means any member who wants to refer a proposed bill to a Select Committee under Rule 70(2)(b) for amendments, he or she gives names of the members to be included in the Committee. The member cannot give names of the member(s) unwilling to serve on the Committee, which means prior permission or consent is required. It is the mover’s duty to ascertain whether a member proposed to be named is willing to serve on the Committee.

MPs reaction to the controversy

MPs reacted sharply to the controversy. AIADMK MP M Thambidurai said he has given a letter to the Chairman of the house referring to the Privilege Committee over the issue. BJD MP Sasmit Patra has also submitted his complaint.

BJP MP Narhari Amin said, “Raghav Chadha included my name in Select Committee. He did not talk to me, I did not give consent for this. He has done wrong. I have not given my signature…”

BJD MP Dr Sasmit Patra said, “At the time when resolutions were being moved in the House (during the discussion on the Delhi Services bill), I heard that my name was mentioned in a resolution that Raghav Chadha moved. Without taking my prior consent my name can’t be put in the resolution. I hope the Chairman of the House will take action. I have made a complaint. Obviously, this is a matter of privilege. All of us have filed our respective complaints.”

AIADMK MP M Thambidurai said, “I have given a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman referring to the Privilege Committee as to how my name is included in the motion, as I had not signed any document. Therefore, someone may have forged my signature.”

Senior Advocate and BJP MP Mahesh Jethmalani said, “It’s a question of breach of privilege. This should be investigated and whoever is responsible should be dismissed from the house.”

Union Minister V Muraleedharan said, “It’s a very serious issue that the AAP leader who submitted the select committee notice included names of members from the ruling party BJP and BJD as well as AIADMK who did not give their consent. It’s equal to forging their signatures. The concerned members have given letters to the Chairman (Rajya Sabha).”

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “In my six years as a minister or the 30-40 years that I’ve been watching Parliament and covering it as a civil servant, I’ve never seen something like this happen…This should be seriously enquired.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “I want to ask Congress if they are supporting people (AAP) who are forging. Strict disciplinary action will be taken against this. A motion will be moved against the member. Union Home Minister has given a detailed answer on the bill.”

BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri said, “This is forgery. It is very unfortunate that they have proposed a motion in Parliament with fake signatures. Those five MPs said that they will go to the Privileges Committee regarding this.”

YSRCP MP Vijay Sai Reddy said, “Raghav Chadha has made certain comments and we have countered those comments. Whenever a resolution has to be moved, he has to consult the members whose names are included in it, but Raghav Chadha without consulting the members, has included their names and one of our party members’ names has also been included without consulting the member. So, some of the members including our party member have decided to move the Privilege Motion against Raghav Chadha.”

AAP is yet to officially react to the allegations against its MP.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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