Congress MLA suspended after aught watching porn in Assembly

Congress MLA suspended after aught watching porn in Assembly

By: || Updated: 16 Dec 2015 07:46 AM
Bhubaneshwar: Congress MLA from Jharusuguda Naba Kishore Das was suspended from the Assembly for seven days for allegedly watching pornographic clips on his mobile phone in the House.

Describing the incident as "shameful", Speaker Niranjan Pujari also asked the ethics committee of the House to investigate the incident.

The combined Opposition - the Congress, the BJP and the CPM - cried foul after the announcement was made and staged a walkout. Their contention was that Das was not given an opportunity to explain his position before the motion seeking his suspension was moved by the BJD and was passed. They also took exception to the fact the BJD had moved the resolution after the Speaker had referred the issue to the ethics committee.

Urging the Speaker to reconsider the decision, Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra said: "One should be punished after he is found guilty. An accused cannot be hanged without being heard. It is wrong."

BJP state unit president K.V. Singh Deo said: "The decision will set a wrong precedent. By suspending him before the probe, Das has been declared guilty by the House." Deo urged the Speaker to reconsider the decision.

"It (the suspension) has been done in a hurry," said the only CPM member in the Assembly, Laxman Munda.

Reacting to the development, the suspended Congress MLA said: "The action reflects the authoritarian attitude of the ruling party, which has a brute majority in the House. They can throw out any MLA like this."

Das said: "I had accidentally touched the YouTube button on my phone and had not watched any adult video clip. I am innocent. In fact, I wanted to express my regret in the House for the action and wanted the Speaker to order a probe into the episode. But, I was not given the opportunity to be heard."

BJD MLA and former minister Pramilla Mallick, who had raised the matter in the House yesterday and again today, demanded Das's expulsion. She said: "It is shameful for the Assembly and the action has brought a bad name to the state. We have not been elected by the people to indulge in such activities. Das can now sit at home and watch whatever he wants to."

Giving his ruling, Speaker Pujari said: "If any MLA was watching a porn clip in the House, it's shameful."

He referred the allegation to the 28-member ethics committee, headed by Ranendra Pratap Swain and asked the panel to submit its report "at the earliest".

Immediately after the Speaker's ruling, BJD chief whip Ananta Das moved a resolution seeking suspension of the Congress MLA. It was passed by voice vote, while the Congress members were in the well demanding the constitution of a House committee to probe into the farmers' suicides reported in the state.

As the Opposition boycotted the proceedings of the House during the day, the Speaker called an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. However, the meeting remained inconclusive.

The ethics committee, which follows the principles that guide the committee of privileges, is expected to deliberate on the issue "very soon", said a member.

"It will call for the evidence - video footage aired by a private TV channel and examine the telephones used by the Congress MLA. As the House has its own cameras, the committee may examine the official footage," said another member.

The Assembly has stipulated a "code of conduct for members", which states that the members "shall not bring cellular phones, paper or play cassette or tape recorder either in the House or in the galleries. If they are brought, they will be seized (Code of conduct for members of Odisha Legilsative Assembly - Chaper II (xx)".

But, there has been a ruling by the Speaker that a member may bring his phone inside the House, but not operate it./ The Telegraph Calcutta.

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