Proposal to rein in unruly MLAs inside Odisha Assembly elicits mixed response

Bhubaneswar: From scuffle between MLAs to throwing paper at the Speaker, Odisha Assembly has witnessed ruckus of sorts. In a bid to ensure that the Assembly functions smoothly, Speaker SN Patro has proposed rules mandating stern action against members who rush to the well of the House.

As per the recommendation, a member should be dismissed if he/she will rush to the well of the House or disrupt the proceedings, informed Patro who recently attended a meeting convened by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on issues related to businesses of various Assemblies and digitisation of state legislatures.

“At present, Speaker has rights to take action against MLAs but if it is converted into Law then nobody can rush to the well of the House. Members will be allowed to raise issues from their respective seats,” said Patro.

As per sources, a code of conduct for the legislators is highly essential to ensure that the proceedings of the Assembly are not affected. Moreover, a committee comprising Speakers of various State Assemblies will be formed in this connection and it is likely to give its report in three months.

Be it State Assembly or both the Houses of Parliament, Speaker has the right to suspend or ask MLAs, MPs to leave the House for creating disturbance or ruckus. Two PDP MPs were escorted by Marshalls out of the House during the recent debate over abrogation of Article 370.

In Odisha too, Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati was suspended for seven days in 2008 for hurling headphone at the then Assembly Speaker Kishore Mohanty.

Meanwhile, both Congress and BJP MLAs in Odisha have opposed such rules.

“If Speaker discharges his duties in an impartial manner, the House will function without any disruption. However, if Speaker will act on the instructions of ruling-BJD, then how can we remain silent,” said Congress MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra said, “There is a big question on Odisha Speaker’s conduct. People of Odisha have sent us to the Assembly to raise issues and we will continue doing so.”

Ruling-BJD MLA Debi Prasad Mishra, on the other hand, said, “In a democracy, a member has rights to express his views. But, how far disruption either in the Parliament or State Assemblies is justified?”