No Privilege Notice Against HRD Min: Kurien
Our Political Bureau
New Delhi: The issue of a Privilege Notice given by Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury raised a storm in Parliament House on Thursday with Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien saying there is no petition against HRD Minister Smriti Irani in the matter and the issue only pertains to threat calls made to the CPM leader for his utterances in the Upper House in response to some comments purportedly made by her.
In a press interaction, Kurien said, “somebody had wrongly briefed the media” and added that the Rajya Sabha Privileges Committee did not formallymeetonWednesdayandneither did it issue a notice to Irani. As Deputy Chairperson of the Upper House, Kurien heads this committee.
“First, the Privileges Committee did not meet yesterday. Second, no such decision of asking any explanation against HRD Minister Smriti Irani was taken. Thirdly, there is no notice for Privilege motion against her,” Kurien said. Kurien further said that some members of the Rajya Sabha Privilege Committee held an “informal discussion” and heard the deposition of Sadhvi Prachi, who appeared as a witness in a case against her. As per the rules, no quorum is required for this process and the Privilege Committee chairperson alone, or in the presence of some members of the committee or in the presence of the whole committee, can examine a witness.
“There was some informal discussion. We did not meet as a committee. What was informally said was briefed to the media as a decision. If I say something it is not the (view of) the committee or if a member says something it is not the (view of) the committee,” he said.
Asked about the notice given by Yechury, Kurien said, “Yechury has said outside (Parliament) that there weresomethreateningcallstohimon thebasisof whathesaidintheHouse. For an MP, there is a Constitutional protection for what he says in the House. On that basis if a person is threatenedorchallengedthatisamatter of privilege. So, Yechury has given a privilege notice on that. We will consider that as per law.”
He underlined that there is “no privile ge petition or motion” with the Privile ge Committee against Irani. Corrigendum: The headline “House admits Privilege Motion against Irani” in yesterday’s edition of ET was misleading. We regret the error.