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Odisha MLA suspended for watching obscene clips in House

Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das was on Tuesday suspended from Odisha Assembly for a week on charge of watching objectionable clips on a cellphone in the House on Monday, even as the entire Opposition staged a walkout urging the Speaker to reconsider his order and wait for the results of a probe.

Speaker Niranjan Pujari, who first referred the matter to the Ethics Committee of the House for inquiry, ordered suspension of Das for one week after government chief whip Ananta Das brought a motion, which was passed by voice vote.

Raising the issue during Zero hour, BJD member Pramila Mallick demanded expulsion of Das from the House. She said the alleged action of the Congress legislator on Monday had lowered the dignity of the House.

As soon as the Speaker ruled for suspension of Das, pandemonium began amid protest from Congress members and the House was adjourned till 12 noon. When the House reassembled, Leader of Opposition of Congress Narasingha Mishra said before taking any action against a member on the basis of allegation levelled by another lawmaker, there must be an inquiry and the accused legislator given an opportunity to present his position.

Action should be taken only after the member is found guilty after proper inquiry and not before that, Mishra said adding he, in fact, had on Monday asked the party MLA to express regret and seek an impartial probe into the matter.

Recalling an old ruling by the chair in the House on 15 March, 1963, he said a member had made serious allegations against another MLA.

 The ruling was that any member levelling an allegation against another should have enough evidence and the House must be in possession of evidence before action is taken, the leader of Opposition said adding, “I disapprove of any act of making allegation without having evidence.” Stating that the principle of natural justice shows that a person must be heard before he is hanged, Mishra said what has happened in the House was not proper. “Therefore, I request you to reconsider the ruling,” he said.

Endorsing Mishra’s views, senior BJP member KV Singhdeo said the allegation should be investigated first and if found to be true, only then should action be taken.
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