Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra faces a privilege motion over her remarks in parliament on a former Chief Justice of India, in an apparent rethink after the government earlier indicated it would not pursue any action.
Sources say the ruling BJP decided to proceed with the motion after Mahua Moitra shared video clips on Wednesday 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, Nishikant Dubey, also did so.
Mahua Moitra tweeted that she would not be silenced by threats of action.
You cannot bully me into silence with threats of privilege motions- Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) February 10, 2021
You cannot abuse high office, retire, & then hide under cover of Article 121
Sexual harassment is not “discharge of duties” pic.twitter.com/r93Y4zdxGo
One has definitely done something right when entire might of government tries to divert attention from uncomfortable truths- Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) February 10, 2021
Please shower same attention to farmers at Delhi's gates
REPEAL OR NOTHING
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 the same day. "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. On reports on Tuesday 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.