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With no specific rules, MP walks free for insulting national song

The issue of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Shaifiqur Rahman Barq walking out of Lok Sabha, while the national song Vande Matram was being played, when the House was being adjourned sine die, is a closed chapter now. Lok Sabha Secretariat has said this in a Right to Information (RTI) reply.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had taken a strong exception to the walk out of BSP MP from the House, while it was being played. She had, in her capacity as the custodian of the House (Lok Sabha) made the following observation in the matter – ‘Hon’ble Member, I just saw one Hon’ble Member walking out when Vande Matram was being played. I take a very serious view of this – I would urge that this should never be done again.’

In a reply to RTI activist S C Agrawal, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has said, ‘The Speaker, Lok Sabha strongly condemned the act of Barq, MP and expressed her strong displeasure over the incident and made an observation in the House on that day itself.’

It further said, ‘No further action has been taken on the matter and the same has been treated as closed.’

Agrawal, among other questions, wanted to information on the action taken against Barq for his insult to national song. On Agrawal’s query regarding information on action possible under rules for such behaviour of a Parliamentarian insulting national song, the Secretariat said, ‘There are no specific rules in the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Business in Lok Sabha regulating the conduct of a member during the playing of National Song.’

On the query regarding information on making rules of Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) more stringent to prevent such behaviour, the Secretariat said, ‘Application already transferred to the Ministry of Law and Justice and Rajya Sabha Secretariat.’

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat, in its reply said, ‘No such incidence has happenned in Rajya Sabha. Presently, there is no proposal to Make Rajya Sabha Rules more stringent.’

Principal opposition party, the BJP, had objected to Barq walking out of the House while national song was being played and had demanded action. Barq had reportedly refused to apologise for his actions.

‘Acts of national insult must not be closed down by mere warnings of Lok Sabha Speaker. Exemplary action should be taken against erring Parliamentarian to the extent of suspension/dismissal from membership of Lok Sabha in case Shafiqur Rahman Barq does not tender unconditional apology for insulting national song during Lok Sabha proceedings,’ said Agrawal.
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