IN a statement issued on December 5, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said that it is indeed very unfortunate that the chairman of the Rajya Sabha has disqualified the membership of Sharad Yadav and Anwar Ali from the Rajya Sabha. This has been done under a complaint received by him seeking disqualification under the grounds of defection in accordance with the Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985.
However, rules for the conduct of business of the Rajya Sabha have been framed without questioning the ultimate supreme authority of the chairman in all matters. Clause 7 of the Rules, `The Members of Rajya Sabha (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1985’, defines the procedure for the consideration and disposal of the petitions that the chairman may receive.
Sub-clause 4 states: “After considering the comments, if any, in relation to the petition, received under sub-rule (3) within the period allowed (whether originally or on extension under that sub-rule), the chairman may either proceed to determine the question or, if he is satisfied, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the case that it is necessary or expedient so to do, refer the petition to the committee for making a preliminary inquiry and submitting a report to him.”
The nature and circumstances of this case makes it necessary for a reference to be made to the committee (in this case, the Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha, as defined in the Rules) for making a preliminary enquiry and submitting a report to the chairman.
“Having served as a member of the Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha for over a decade, I have noted that invariably such petitions have been referred to the Privileges Committee upon whose report the chairman exercises his power to decide” he said.
Sharad Yadav is one of the senior most political leaders in our country having taken the oath of member of parliament in both houses for eleven times in his life so far. Considering his seniority, Yechury said, he will only urge the chair to study his submission in the matter and reconsider this decision accordingly.