Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra may face a privilege motion over her remarks in parliament on a former Chief Justice of India, in an apparent rethink after the government yesterday indicated it would not pursue any action.
Sources say the ruling BJP decided to move the motion after Mahua Moitra shared video clips today of her controversial remarks in the Lok Sabha. PP Chowdhary, a former Minister of State for Law, put in the request for privilege motion. Later, another BJP MP, Nishant Dubey, also requested for privilege motion.
On Monday, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had said Mahua Moitra must face action for her remarks seen to target former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which have since been expunged.
“Raising the issue of the Ram Mandir judgment (the Ayodhya temple-mosque verdict) and bringing the then Chief Justice and other things, it’s a serious matter and we’re thinking of taking appropriate measures,” Mr Joshi was quoted as telling new agency ANI.
He cited a rule against members bringing up “the conduct of persons in high authority unless the discussion is based on a substantive motion drawn in proper terms.”
Mahua Moitra put out a defiant tweet. “It would be a privilege indeed if a breach of privilege motion is initiated against me for speaking the truth during India’s darkest hour,” she posted. Yesterday, on reports that the government had decided not to move against her, she wrote: “What? No action? Just when I was gearing up to fight the good fight!”
BJP MPs denounced the Trinamool MP’s remarks but sources say legal opinion had favoured Mahua Moitra as she spoke about a former, not sitting, Chief Justice who currently is a member of Parliament and does not count as a “higher authority”.
Ms Moitra’s comments, which caused a furore in the Lok Sabha on Monday, were expunged. “These remarks are against the judiciary,” said the office of the Speaker.
In a fiery speech, Ms Moitra also said, referring to the crackdown on the farmer protests, that “India is in a state of undeclared emergency”. She accused the government of making propaganda and disinformation “a cottage industry” and went on to criticize the judiciary and the media for “failing” the country. “Cowards who hide behind the false bravado of authority, of power, of hate, of bigotry, of untruths and dare to call it courage. After all this, the government has turned propaganda and misinformation into a cottage industry, whose biggest success is recasting of cowardice as courage,” she said.