24 May, 2006

Subhash Kashyap

Subhash Kashyap is by far the most venerated constitutional expert. His books on Indian Constitution and the Parliament are indispensable for any student of Indian polity even as part of General Studies. He was Constitutional Adviser to the Government of India and was a Member of the National Commission on the Review of the Working of the Constitution and Chairman of its Drafting Committee (2000-2002). Earlier, he headed the CIDP at IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) in Geneva. But he himself is now involved in a controversy over the privileges of Parliament. It is very clear that the Speaker's decision ''cannot be questioned either in the House or outside''. Mr. Kashyap resorted to sort of sacrilege by casting aspersions on the impartiality of the Speaker.

On 4th August, 2005 Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was informed that her adjournment motion on 'Inflitration in West Bengal and part of North-Eastern region' was disallowed by the Speaker under Rule 338, which states that the House cannot take up an issue which has already been discussed and negatived in the same session. Her notice was rejected on July 26 and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani's adjournment motion on the same topic was admitted and discussed, it was pointed out. On this, Mamata walked to the well of the House and threw some papers towards the Chair.

On the same day, commenting on this particular incident in a TV channel Kashyap said: ''Well, it has a personal aspect also which should not be forgotten. When Mamata Banerjee was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time, she had defeated a personality like Somnath Chatterjee.'' This kind of remarks are totally unwarranted.

What miffed the panel more was the fact that Kashyap made light of the matter by saying ''papers were torn and thrown like missiles on many occasions in the Lok Sabha. Even shoes and chappals were shown inside the House many a time''. It may be true but throwing shoes at a member is different from throwing them at the speaker. If we overlook even when Lakshman rekha is crossed saying several lines were crossed earlier, nothing beside remains. From this, it is also very clear that we are becoming more and more insentient.

He was also quoted as having said ''there are many instances when discussions on the same subject have been held twice or more during the same session'', but he could not substantiate this point before the Committee. It is appalling that even such 'experts' talk so casually on TV.

Though Lok Sabha has never admonished anyone before, it has 'reprimanded' - considered to be a harsher punishment - two persons previously:

Aug 29, 1960: R K Karanjia was reprimanded for calling Sucheta Kriplani "KripLooney"

Dec 9, 1970: Deputy secretary S.C. Mukherjee was reprimanded for misleading the Committee of Public Undertaking while giving evidence

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