Nupur Sharma suspension: What is Rule 10(a) of BJP Constitution?
Amid a backlash from the Arab nations against the comments made by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Muhammad, the party on Sunday suspended her with "immediate effect" till further inquiry for expressing views contrary to its position. The BJP invoked Rule 10(a) of its Constitution while taking action against Sharma for her "controversial" comments. Here's what Rule 10(a) is.
Why does this story matter?
- The BJP's clarification and Sharma's suspension occurred on the same day when Arab nations' outrage exploded on social media—with trending Twitter hashtags and calls to boycott Indian goods.
- Sharma was named in several cases for her remarks in Maharashtra and Telangana.
- However, she denied any wrongdoing and claimed to have received death threats. She clarified that she never intended to hurt anyone's religious sentiments.
Article II lays down objective of the party
The BJP Constitution contains 34 articles. Article II lays down the "objective" of the party formed by the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh members in 1980. Article II's objective states: "The party aims to establish a democratic state, which guarantees to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or sex, political, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity, and liberty of faith and expression."
Article XXV-5 relates to constitution of Disciplinary Committee
Article XXV-5 of the BJP Constitution states that the National Executive will frame the rules of the Disciplinary Action Committee for deciding matters relating to violations of discipline at different levels. There are six parts to breach of discipline. One of which includes "acting or carrying on propaganda against any program or decision of the party" and "violating any rule or disobeying any order."
What does Rule 10(a) state?
Sharma was suspended even before an inquiry against her, under Rule 10(a) of the party's Constitution for her controversial comments against Prophet Muhammad and his marriage in a TV news debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque case. Rule 10(a) of the BJP Constitution gives extraordinary powers to the party's national president to "suspend any member and then start disciplinary proceedings against" them.
Disciplinary Committee to send report to party president
As per "disciplinary action," the party states that "on receipt of the complaint for breach of discipline, the National President or the State President, if he so desires may suspend an individual or a unit followed by a show-cause notice within a week of the said order (sic)." "Disciplinary Action Committee will send its report to the president in not more than 15 days."
What exactly did Sharma say?
During a recent debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque row on a TV channel, Sharma stated that because Muslims were insulting the Hindu faith by calling the unearthed Shivling a fountain, certain aspects in their religious scriptures may be mocked as well. She then made a mention of Prophet Muhammad's marriage, too. Her remarks sparked uproar and elicited responses from religious organizations and political parties.
Sharma's remarks received global attention
Reports of Indians, who represent a large percentage of the workforce in the Gulf countries, being laid off by their Arab bosses began to surface on the internet, along with reports of many Gulf superstores removing Indian products. The hashtag "Boycott India" started trending on Twitter. In fact, the Grand Mufti of Oman, as well as popular Twitter accounts, have called for a boycott.
What did BJP say?
The BJP issued a clarification on Sunday, briefly before announcing Sharma's suspension, asserting it respects all religions and strongly condemns insults to any religious figures. According to a press release signed by Arun Singh, the BJP's national general secretary, "The BJP is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP doesn't promote such people or philosophy."