Indian Railway officials, both onboard a train and senior officials at zone headquarters, beware!
Ravindra Vishwanath Gaikwad, a first-time Shiv Sena MP from Osmanabad who has been blacklisted and grounded with "no-fly" tag by the association of airlines, could now be boarding a train.
The MP who has shamed self, his peers, his party Shiv Sena and Indian Parliament, does not have an option left other than to be compelled to travel by train. The problem is, more often than not Gaikwad would find timing, general amenities and the privileges he would expect from Indian Railways lacking.
And if, a situation that may be of dislike to the MP's whims does arise, what could be the possible consequences is anybody's guess — for Gaikwad takes pride in saying "maine chappal se nahi sandal se mara...kan ke niche baja dala (I didn't beat him by slipper but I beat him up with sandal...banged below his ears).
If anything, his sense of entitlement in Railways would be even higher because the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu is an ex-Shiv Sena leader and belongs to the same state. It's a different matter though that Prabhu may not be obliging to him.
Railway ministry is adjacent to Parliament House in Delhi and Gaikwad need not go a long way if he wishes to take up the matter in whatever way he wishes with the Chairman of Railway Board, unlike Air India CMD, whose office is located slightly far away at Gurudwara Rakabganj Road in New Delhi or at Nariman Point in Mumbai.
But Railway officials will now at least have the benefit of knowledge, thanks to the Air India staffer who was assaulted, that words like "complain to PM Modi" infuriate him even more for he "is a Shiv Sena MP not a BJP MP." As it is Railway officials past experiences in dealing with MPs and MLAs has had not been very healthy.
However, what has stirred the conscience of the nation is that the elected Sena MP is unrepentant, even boastful of his shameful behaviour onboard the Air India aircraft. In one of his multiple TV bites, Gaikwad said he was a "disciple of Balasaheb Thackeray" and had 'learnt from his departed leader' that if someone fails to pay heed to his words that chap surely deserves a thrashing below his ears. And in doing so, he has let the whole world know that he should be taken as a privileged goon, who cares more about the petty perks associated with office of an MP than about his duties as a public representative and the certain degree of decorum expected from a leader of such standing.
Since he has committed this highly condemnable act — including an attempt to push off an airline official from aircraft, with intention to cause him grievous injury — outside the Parliament premise, the Speaker of Lok Sabha who is otherwise custodian of the Lower House, can't take an action against him. However, it must also be noted that by the same argument, he can't claim any parliamentary privilege to defend himself. The law of the land is applicable to him and he is liable to be punished under relevant provisions of the IPC and CrPC.
Meanwhile, it would also be advisable for Gaikwad to take a look at the 'Code of Conduct' for MPs so diligently prepared by the Ethics Committee of Parliament.
Consider what the code says: Members of Parliament "should acknowledge their responsibility to maintain the public trust reposed in them and should work diligently to discharge their mandate for the common good of the people. They must hold in high esteem the Constitution, the Law, Parliamentary Institutions and above all the general public. They should constantly strive to translate the ideals laid down in the Preamble to the Constitution into a reality. The following are the principles which they should abide by in their dealings:"
"Members must not do anything that brings disrepute to the Parliament and affects their credibility. (ii) Members must utilise their position as Members of Parliament to advance general well-being of the people. (iii) In their dealings if Members find that there is a conflict between their personal interests and the public trust which they hold, they should resolve such a conflict in a manner that their private interests are subordinated to the duty of their public office....( xiv) Members are expected to maintain high standards of morality, dignity, decency and values in public life".
One could only suggest that the Railways and various airlines should also keep multiple copies of Ethics Committee report on Code of Conduct for MPs" ready at counter and onboard, just in case a situation arises.
Updated Date: Mar 24, 2017 16:15 PM