TMC MPs move privilege motion against ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi
A privilege notice has been issued against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi as a result of his comments in an interview with NDTV. Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs Jawhar Sircar and Mausam Noor wrote to the Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha PC Mody, alleging breach of privilege by Gogoi. Similar motions are anticipated to be submitted by at least ten other MPs.
Why does it matter?
- A privilege motion may result in a parliamentarian losing their membership if the Rajya Sabha chairperson finds merit in the notice and forwards it to the Privilege Committee.
- The notices allege breach of privilege by virtue of Gogoi's comments alleging non-compliance of COVID-19 norms in Parliament.
- However, a majority of privilege motions have ended up in rejection in the past.
'Gogoi's comments undermine dignity of House'
Gogoi's comments "prima facie constitute a breach of the Council as they undermine the dignity of the Rajya Sabha," the notice said. It referred to Rule 187 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha). The rule allows a Rajya Sabha member to question a breach of privilege by another member after the chair's consent.
What had Justice Gogoi said?
Gogoi was questioned by NDTV about his attendance in Parliament during an interview, which aired on December 9. He had then expressed dissatisfaction with COVID-19 restrictions in Parliament, alleging a lack of social distancing and "I go to the Rajya Sabha whenever I feel like it, when I think there are matters of importance on which I should speak," he had said.
What do parliamentary rules say?
According to the House rules, a member must attend at least one day of the session. If they do not, they must apply for leave and wait for approval of the same by the House.
Don't take a penny from Parliament: Gogoi
In the same interview, Gogoi had also responded to allegations that his House membership was a quid pro quo for judgments favoring the government. Gogoi had said that he does not take a penny from the Rajya Sabha. He had said that he would be better off in a tribunal. As CJI, Gogoi's rulings in the Ayodhya, Rafale, and other cases were criticized.