Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna row: Speaker can't drop a passed resolution, says expert who helped framed rules for Delhi Assembly

The BJP’s stand against Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel for allegedly dropping former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's name from a resolution condemning the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and passed by the state Assembly, has found the backing of constitutional expert SK Sharma, who helped formulate the rules and procedure of conduct of Business of the state Assembly.

Like the BJP, Sharma says that the bulletin of the proceedings of the House on 21 December does not correctly reflect the House's position on the resolution which sought to revoke the Bharat Ratna award given posthumously Gandhi.

On Monday, Goel had published the bulletin of the proceedings of the Assembly which met on 21 December, but without mentionong the resolution demanding to strip Gandhi of the Bharat Ratna award. Infuriated over the deletion of Gandhi's name, the BJP has now sought the removal of the Speaker accusing him of forgery for manipulating the Assembly proceedings.

Delhi Congress protests against AAP government. PTI

Delhi Congress protests against AAP government. PTI

Bolstering the BJP's stand, Sharma stated that once a resolution is passed, it cannot be deleted from the proceedings of the House.

“As per media reports, members of Opposition present in the Assembly on that day as well as the video recording of the proceedings, the resolution to strip the former prime minister of the Bharat Ratna award was placed by AAP MLA Jarnail Singh and duly passed with a voice vote. In no case this can be removed from the bulletin of the proceedings of the Assembly,” he said.

He further added that though the resolution cannot be deleted from the proceedings of the Assembly, it can certainly be cancelled later on by passing another one to that effect, which apparently was not done.

“There are earlier examples when wrongly passed resolutions had been amended. When Morarji Desai was India’s prime minister, the Parliament once wrongly passed an obituary reference of legendary political activist Jaiprakash Narayan on the basis of a wrongly circulated news that the leader had breathed his last while availing treatment at a hospital in Mumbai. But when the mistake was discovered, a separate resolution was passed cancelling the earlier one," he says.

Since the rules followed by the Delhi Assembly are the same which are followed in the Parliament of India, the Assembly could have resorted to the same procedure to amend the resolution, he said

“But legally, the resolution cannot be deleted from the bulletin,” commented the constitutional expert who framed the rules of Delhi Assembly in its heydays.

Significantly, the Government of Delhi had decided to hold a two-day special session of the Assembly from 20 December after the Delhi High Court sentenced former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar to life in prison for his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The special session included condemnation of the riots on its agenda.

On the second day of the session, all hell broke loose after, AAP MLA Jarnail Singh moved a resolution demanding the revoking of the Bharat Ratna award given posthumously to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for his statements made soon after the carnage allegedly justifying the riots.

Alka Lamba, another AAP MLA expressed her dissent over the resolution in the Assembly and walked out in protest.

Significantly, the resolution which was passed unanimously was seen as a major possible impediment in any ongoing talks between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over seat-sharing in Delhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The plot became even more intriguing after the party distanced itself from the controversial resolution.

While speaking to the media, AAP spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the resolution seeking to revoke the Bharat Ratna awarded to Gandhi was not part of the original copy, but was scribbled down by another AAP MLA, Somnath Bharti.

AAP sources said that the party has sought an explanation from Bharti for his act.

While speaking with Firstpost, Bharti admitted that it was indeed his mistake to scribble down the resolution for Jarnail Singh right below the original resolution.

"The resolution which I scribbled was meant for a separate mention and discussion. But mistakenly Singh read both of them in one go. The house was too emotionally charged after two days of discussions on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots to notice the anomaly," he said.

He also added that the situation would have been different if both the resolutions were read out separately.

Bharti slammed the BJP saying that the party has no understanding of the parliamentary procedure, otherwise it would not have protested.

Goel has also told ANI that the word “Rajiv Gandhi” was not a part of the original text placed before the House and that whatever Jarnail Singh said was not passed.

Meanwhile, the BJP is in no mood to listen. BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa has already submitted a Notice to the Secretary, Delhi Legislative Assembly, seeking removal of the Speaker for dropping the line from the Resolution which read “this House also resolved that Centre should withdraw Bharat Ratna from the then acting PM Rajiv Gandhi".

He said that the resolution has been illegally, unauthorisedly and unconstitutionally amended by the Speaker.

“The Speaker’s deliberate, planned and sustained action is clear-cut case of blatant forgery out of unpardonable moral and ethical turpitude. The above noted points clearly establish that the Speaker has violated the truthfulness, dignity and the faith of the House, and therefore, needs to be removed from his Office,” he said.

A source in the BJP said that the party would move the resolution to oust the speaker on the next session of the Assembly on the first week of January.

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Dec 25, 2018 22:37 PM

Also See