- The Lok Sabha proceedings descended into ruckus after Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra remark on the sexual assault charges against a former chief justice of India
- Treasury benches strongly opposed Moitra’s address, saying that without prior notice and approval of the chair, a person of high authority should not be addressed like this
- According to some reports, the remarks were later expunged from the House records
On Monday in Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra created an uproar as she raised the question on “EX-CJI” being accused of sexual assault and then sitting on his own trial.
Treasury benches strongly opposed Moitra’s address, saying that without prior notice and approval of the chair, a person of high authority should not be addressed like this.
As the Treasury demanded that her remarks be expunged, RSP (Revolutionary Socialist Party) member N K Premachandran, who was in the chair, said that if found objectionable, they would be expunged.
In her speech during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the address of the President, Moitra lashed out at the government for making “hate and bigotry” a part of its narrative and alleged that the nation has also “failed” the judiciary and the media.
She said: “India’s tragedy today is not that her government has failed her, but the other democratic pillars, the media and the judiciary has failed her. The sacred cow that was the judiciary is not sacred anymore. The day a sitting chief justice of this country was accused of sexual assault, presided over his own trial, cleared himself, and then continued to accept a nomination to the Upper House complete with Z-plus security cover in three months of retirement. It stopped being sacred.”
“The judiciary stopped being sacred when it squandered the opportunity to uphold the founding principles of the Constitution.”
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey rose up at this stage and objected to the debate of a former CJI in the House without a motion being adopted for the same. Meghwal called the remarks by Moitra against the former CJI “shameful.”
Saugat Roy of TMC said that Moitra had not mentioned anyone and that the former CJI could not be called “high authority” after retiring.
Eventually, Premachandran allowed Moitra to finish her speech, but asked her not to mention the former CJI again and the issues connected with him.
Moitra said that the government was projecting its cowardice to the nation as bravery. “People face harassment by the hands of the police simply for asking questions from this government or voicing an opinion on the state of affairs in this country. I’m talking about cowardice and courage today and the difference between the two. Cowards who hide behind the false bravado of authority, of power, of hatred, of intolerance, of falsehood, and who dare to call it courage. After all this, the government has transformed propaganda and disinformation into a cottage industry whose greatest achievement is recasting cowardice as bravery,” she said.
Moitra said the government had “shown courage” in implementing a law that decides who is or is not an Indian by arbitrary parameters. She raised the issue of why the government was notifying the Citizenship Amendment Act rules that she said had thrown “millions of Indians into the abyss of insecurity”.
The member of Trinamool also said that the government had converted Indian democracy into a police state whereby eminent member of this House and a veteran journalist on the basis of a single dubious complaint are charged with sedition.
She also talked about the handling of farmers’ protests by the government as “courage” and said it formed the government’s “brutality over morality” motto.
“The courage to respond to 18-year-old climate activist (Greta Thunberg) and an American pop star (Rihanna) on social media posts using the official account of the Ministry of External Affairs. When the government has not even deputed a single ministry to look after the food, water and basic sanitation needs of the families who have been camping for almost 90 days on the borders of Delhi. And the bravery to put in three farm laws when the entire Opposition and farmers around the nation as well as the government’s oldest ally warned it was inappropriate. These laws were established without agreement, implemented without review and rammed down the throat of this nation with brute force from the treasury benches. They have firmly founded the slogan of brutality over morality in this government,” she said, demanding the repeal of the three laws.
During the debate, T R Baalu of the DMK accused the government of transgressing the powers of the state and also requested that Tamil be made an official language. Tamil enjoys this status in countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia, he said. He accused the government of weakening the language, stating that it is not taught by any of the Kendriya Vidyalayas in Tamil Nadu. He said, “Don’t play with fire.”
Baalu asked the government to resolve the concerns of farmers’ unions protesting the three farm laws and said it should not stand on “false prestige and ego”.
Prataprao Jadhav of Shiv Sena said, “No solid step has been taken to improve the lives of farmers.” We have been calling for a separate agriculture budget. But by a brute majority in the House, the three farm laws were passed. Over the past three months, our farmers have been protesting. So many of them have died, but nobody listens to them. Why is the government adamant in not repealing the laws?”