Mahua Moitra expelled from Lok Sabha: What next for TMC leader? Options before her

On Friday, Mahua Moitra, a member of the Trinamool Congress, found herself on the brink of expulsion from the Lok Sabha as the ethics committee\’s report was adopted. The committee determined Moitra\’s culpability in accepting gifts and illegal favors from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to promote his interests.

The report delineated Moitra\’s \”unethical conduct\” and contempt for the House, underscoring her sharing of Lok Sabha credentials with unauthorized individuals, posing a potential threat to national security. The committee recommended severe penalties, advocating for Moitra\’s removal from the 17th Lok Sabha. Additionally, it called for a government-led, time-sensitive investigation into her objectionable, unethical, heinous, and criminal behavior.

The committee\’s inquiry revealed that Moitra intentionally divulged her Lok Sabha login credentials to Hiranandani, establishing her guilt in unethical behavior, violation of parliamentary privileges, and contempt of the House.

Former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary suggested that Moitra could potentially contest her expulsion in the Supreme Court, although Article 122 of the Constitution typically shields House proceedings from such challenges. Achary pointed out that the Supreme Court, in the 2007 Raja Ram Pal case, clarified that restrictions on challenges primarily pertain to procedural irregularities.

India Today outlined Moitra\’s potential grounds for appeal, including challenging the committee\’s decision based on principles of natural justice and fair hearing. Moitra could dispute the jurisdiction and conduct of the ethics committee, alleging overreach or procedural irregularities.

The motion for Moitra\’s expulsion, presented by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, cited her \”unbecoming conduct\” as a parliamentarian for accepting gifts and illegal favors. Despite requests from Trinamool Congress and other opposition members for Moitra to present her views in the House, Speaker Om Birla, citing precedent, denied the request.

Birla referred to a 2005 case where Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had prohibited 10 members involved in a \’cash for questions\’ scandal from speaking in the House. Joshi urged the House to endorse the committee\’s recommendation and expel Moitra, drawing parallels with the 2005 expulsion of members entangled in a similar controversy.

Ethics committee chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar presented the initial report on Moitra\’s case, triggered by a complaint filed by BJP member Nishikant Dubey.

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