"The Speaker has referred the matters relating to incidents that happened in the Lok Sabha, on February 13, to the Committee of Privileges of Lok Sabha for examination and report," a Lok Sabha Secretariat release said. (Agencies)
The 15-member Committee, headed by senior Congress leader PC Chacko, has power to take punitive measures which include recommending imprisonment and even expulsion among others.
In a new low in India's Parliamentary history, pepper spray was used in the Lok Sabha resulting in hospitalization of three MPs following a ruckus over introduction of the Telangana Bill after which 16 Seemandhra MPs were suspended.
The Speaker had expressed anguish over the incidents saying that it has ‘shamed the country and Parliament’ and called it a ‘blot’.
Unprecedented pandemonium broke out in the House when expelled Congress member L Rajagopal, an industrialist and opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh, brought a canister from which he sprayed pepper.
Rajagopal had attracted widespread condemnation for his action.
All political parties have demanded action against unruly MPs. The government has already said that it would not oppose whatever decision the Speaker takes in this regard.
The Speaker's decision to refer the matter to the Parliamentary panel came on the eve of a meeting of the Committee on Security in Parliament complex which will go into the various issues of security including frisking of MPs.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat said that the decision to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee has been done under Rule 227 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
The function of the panel is to examine every question involving breach of privilege or contempt of the House or of the members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.
The Committee of Privileges is the Committee which has powers to recommend punitive measures. The punitive measures include imprisonment and even expulsion, among others.
On February 13, the Speaker had named 16 members who stood automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings under Rule 374A, in the wake of the incidents.
"The Speaker has referred the matters relating to incidents that happened in the Lok Sabha, on February 13, to the Committee of Privileges of Lok Sabha for examination and report," a Lok Sabha Secretariat release said.