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BJP is setting the stage for a walkout: Experts

Vicky Nanjappa & Krishnakumar P | July 22, 2008 17:13 IST
Last Updated: July 22, 2008 19:32 IST

The Lok Sabha was brought to an abrupt halt on Tuesday afternoon when some Bharatiya Janata Party Members of Parliament waved bundles of currency, claiming the Samajwadi Party had tried to bribe them to abstain from voting during the confidence motion. spoke to some legal experts to find out what Speaker Somnath Chatterjee can do in such a situation.

Senior counsel Harish Salve said that the role of the Speaker is limited in such cases. According to him, the MPs should have first lodged an FIR or informed the ppolice..

"Even if the MPs wanted to display the money in the Parliament, they should have approached the Speaker first.  Moreover, these MPs have made an allegation against the party and not against an individual. Bribing a MP is a serious allegation and it should have been a serious complaint. But this seems like a farce," he said.

Salve said that the Speaker can't suspend the proceedings of the House and he cannot even order an inquiry in the matter before the trust vote..

Senior counsel Professor Ravi Varma Kumar, a constitutional expert, said that the trust vote cannot be postponed due to the allegations made by the BJP MPs.

"The MPs who claim that they had been bribed should approach the privileges committee. The Speaker cannot do anything in such a situation as the allegation is being made against a party. The MPs should reveal the name of the person who offered them the bribe and should be able to prove their case," Kumar said.

Speaking on the steps that the Speaker should take, Kumar said that Chatterjee should immediately  confiscate the money and bring the House under order.

He can convene an all-party meeting to discuss the matter. He can even postpone the trust vote if all the parties agree with him.  "The speaker on his own will not have suo motu power to put off a trust vote," Kumar said.

A political observer, who did not wish to be named, said, "Why do I get the feeling that the BJP is preparing for a walkout? By walking out, the government will sail through the trust vote and the BJP will not have to unintentionally support the third front and Mayawati."

                                                               Also Read: An Alliance in Crisis

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