Not saying a slogan is part of freedom of expression: Owaisi on 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' row

Mumbai: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said that his party's MLA Waris Pathan's suspension from Maharashtra Assembly will set a wrong precedent, and it was the first time in the history of India that a person was suspended for not saying a slogan.

Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP

Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP

"This is for the first time in the history of Indian democracy that an elected member has been suspended for not raising a slogan. Parliament and Assemblies are a forum for debates where sloganeering is not allowed," Owaisi told PTI.

"When the Prime Minister says he only follows the Constitution, where in the Constitution is it written that an elected member will be suspended if he does not shout a slogan?" he said.

While the Speaker has discretionary powers, a member can only be suspended if he uses unparliamentary language or indulges in unparliamentary behaviour, he said.

"Here a member is being forced to say something which the Constitution allows him not to say. That is his freedom of expression," he said, adding no law is violated if a slogan is not raised.

"We are heading into an age of darkness. By supporting the suspension motion, Congress and NCP, who call themselves secular, have been completely exposed," he said.

AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan was on Wednesday suspended from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the remaining duration of the ongoing budget session after he said during a debate that he would not say `Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.

Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil tabled a resolution seeking suspension of Pathan, which was passed unanimously.


Updated Date: Mar 17, 2016 08:28 AM

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