AN Shamseer | Videograb: YouTube/SabhaTV
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer in a ruling on Monday warned the Congress-led UDF opposition that repeating acts, like holding of a parallel session in the House as was done last week, would invite stringent action against those involved.
The warning from the Chair came after the Assembly reconvened at 11.30 AM subsequent to being adjourned temporarily due to the disruption caused by the opposition during the question hour.
In his ruling, Shamseer said the Chair was surprised that senior MLAs of UDF were involved in the holding of the parallel session in the House, when the Assembly was going on, and disseminating visual recordings of the same.
"The Chair is hopeful that concerned MLAs will consider how such acts could affect the dignity and proceedings of the Assembly. If the same is repeated, stringent action would be taken against those involved," Shamseer ruled.
The Assembly had seen uproarious scenes last Tuesday over the Brahmapuram waste yard fire as opposition UDF MLAs protested at the well of the House by holding a "parallel session" before staging a walkout.
The Speaker in his ruling today also expressed displeasure over the increased use of placards and banners in the House and waving of the same before the Speaker's dais.
Shamseer pointed out that though strong protests have been held inside and outside the House in the past, under the rules and code of conduct the MLAs rights to agitate inside the Assembly are limited.
He urged everyone to maintain order in the House and not disrupt anyone when they are speaking.
In response to the ruling, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the State Assembly V D Satheesan said that the two main reasons for the UDF not being able to cooperate with House proceedings were the recent "restrictions" on moving adjournment motions to discuss certain issues and secondly, the allegedly false non-bailable cases lodged against several opposition MLAs, including two women.
The Assembly complex had witnessed unprecedented scenes last Wednesday when a section of opposition UDF legislators who marched to the office of Speaker Shamseer, accusing him of being biased in the House, got into a scuffle with the House marshals.
At least four Opposition MLAs and seven Watch-and-Ward staff were injured in the incident, sources had said.
Based on a complaint by one of the House marshals or Watch-and-Ward staff, a case was lodged against 7 UDF legislators under Sections 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC.
While section 333 carries a maximum punishment of 10 years, section 326 provides for life imprisonment.
However, similar offences were not invoked against the House marshals or the LDF legislators against whom the opposition had lodged a complaint, UDF claimed in the House today.
"In such a situation, we cannot cooperate with the House proceedings," Satheesan said, reiterating what he had said earlier in the day during the question hour.
Subsequently, several UDF MLAs trooped into the well of the House raising placards which said "don't show arrogance of continued second term towards UDF" and referred to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as 'mundu wearing Modi'.
They waved the placards in the face of the Speaker in front of his dais and kept shouting slogans against the ruling Left front.
As the noisy scenes continued, Shamseer took up other businesses in haste and adjourned the House for the day.
In his ruling, the Speaker also said that there were allegations against the Chair that it denied permission to present four adjournment notices moved by the opposition on the directions of the State government.
"These allegations were also made before the media outside the House," he said and ruled that the same were not only "baseless", but they "amounted to questioning the neutrality of the Chair and a serious violation of the Parliamentary code of conduct".
He said permission to present certain adjournment notices were denied by the Chair in accordance with certain rules of the House and misinterpreting the same or indulging in conduct which is unparliamentary would not be allowed.
Shamseer also said that it was probably the first time in the Assembly's history that MLAs tried to blockade the Speaker's office in the House and the same was unfortunate.
While criticising the opposition actions, Shamseer in his ruling also withdrew certain remarks he made last week against Congress MLA Shafi Parambil.
The Speaker said that the remarks by the Chair were inappropriate and hurt the MLA and the same were being withdrawn and expunged from the House records.
Besides these, in his ruling, Shamseer also said that appropriate changes would be made in the House rules in connection with broadcasting protests by the opposition in the Assembly as is done in the Parliament.
He also said that guidelines would be laid down with regard to recording visuals in certain areas of the House where the same is prohibited and then disseminating the videos.
Earlier in the day, during the question hour, the opposition disrupted the House claiming that neither the Left government in Kerala nor the Speaker were creating an environment where the UDF can cooperate with the Assembly proceedings.
In view of the disruption created by the opposition, the Speaker -- halfway through the question hour -- adjourned the House till 11 AM.