Chair has authority to expunge words, bring back parts: Speaker Om Birla | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Chair has authority to expunge words, bring back parts: Speaker Om Birla

By, Udaipur
Aug 23, 2023 01:11 AM IST

Birla defended the expunged remarks at a media briefing after the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s India Chapter.

Speaking on the turbulent Monsoon session of Parliament for the first time, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla emphasised that the chair has to protect the prestige of the legislature and is the final authority to expunge or retain remarks by lawmakers.

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. (ANI)
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. (ANI)

Also read: Prestige of legislative bodies is increasingly eroding: Om Birla

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Opposition leaders had protested a number of decisions during the session, including reintroducing remarks of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party member Nishikant Dubey and allowing women and child development minister Smriti Irani to use expressions earlier termed unparliamentary for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Congress floor leader Adhir Chowdhury protested his suspension from the Lok Sabha and argued that the standard procedure was to expunge objectionable remarks and not to suspend a member.

Birla defended the expunged remarks at a media briefing after the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s India Chapter. “The chair has the authority to expunge words. He can expunge and can reintroduce the expunged portions,” he said. “Our effort is to ensure that the speeches in the House don’t violate the decorum and prestige of the House.”

“The presiding officer of the House is expected to remain impartial and controversy free. The chair has the responsibility to maintain the prestige of the House,” he added. “Therefore, we try to maintain that no member raises questions on the chair over issues in the House.”

When the Opposition protested the privilege notice against Chowdhury, who was suspended on August 10, Birla said the speaker had no role as the matter was referred to the privileges committee.

Birla announced that a number of steps, including one to make all assemblies paper-free in a timebound manner, and another for the capacity building of lawmakers, were taken in the meeting of the presiding officers.

Also read: Cooperatives shouldn’t be political tools, says Om Birla

In his valedictory speech, Birla said digital technology can enhance good governance and make institutions more accountable. “Years after a legislation is enacted, common people, for whom the law is made, remain unaware about these laws,” he said. “Rules for a law are not formed even years after a bill has been cleared. This is another matter of concern.”

The Lok Sabha speaker also observed that lawmakers have a key role in contributing towards the prosperity of the nation.

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