Speaker rejects notice for a debate on doctor’s death

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly today witnessed pandemonium after Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat rejected a notice from opposition Congress for a debate on alleged murder of a lady doctor in Puri district recently.

Disallowing the opposition notice for a debate on the subject, Speaker Amat said "this House cannot discuss on a matter under the consideration of any court of law."

Angry over this, opposition members rushed to well and raised anti-government slogans alleging that the ruling party was fearing a debate on the death of Dr Madhabilata Pradhan whose body remained missing so far.

"How can the Speaker disallow a debate on the matter on the ground of court case. As fingers are raised against the health minister, local MLA and Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), the government must clarify its view," Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said denouncing Speaker's act.

Stating that the Speaker had also disallowed another debate on the port issue on the court ground, Singh asked the Assembly secretariat to issue a list of incidents which were sub-judice. "You cannot suppress opposition voice on the pretext of court case," he said.

Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan too strongly opposed Speaker's decision and cited several instances where issues had been debated in the assembly despite being under the consideration of the court. "This is simply denying the rights of freedom of speech to MLAs," he said.

Harichandan said when media, civil societies and others were discussing the matter openly, this was strange that the members of the assembly could not speak on the subject because it was sub-judice.

"Can you stop media and civil society from talking on the matter," Harichandan asked seeking a clarification from the Speaker whether he had not allowed any debate in the assembly on the matters pending in court.

The opposition was not trying to influence the court through discussion, he said adding "we simply wanted to debate on the circumstances in which the lady doctor died."

As the Speaker refused to accept the opposition arguments, angry Congress MLAs rushed to well of the House and staged demonstration.

With opposition refusing to return to their seats, Speaker Amat adjourned the house till tomorrow.

No other business except the question hour could be conducted due to the pandemonium.