Two Trinamool Congress and three Congress MPs on Monday submitted a privilege notice against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi for his recent comments about him being nominated to the Parliament, and his low attendance in the House, reported The Hindu.
Gogoi, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha soon after his retirement from the Supreme Court, had made the comments in an interview to news channel NDTV last week.
“I go to the Rajya Sabha when I feel like, when I think there are matters of importance on which I should speak,” Gogoi had told NDTV. “I am a nominated member, not governed by any party whip. Therefore, whenever the bell rings for the party members to come, it does not bound me, I go there of my choice and come out on my choice.”
On failing to attend the Rajya Sabha proceedings earlier, the former chief justice had said that he had submitted a letter to the Upper House saying he will not be attending due to Covid-19.
“Until a little before the last Winter Session, you could enter the Rajya Sabha after only an RT-PCR and personally I did not feel comfortable going there,” Gogoi had said. “Social distancing norms have been enforced, they are not being observed. The sitting arrangements, I don’t find very comfortable.”
Parliament records show that Gogoi has attended less than 10% of the total sessions since March last year, when he took oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
When asked about him joining the Upper House only four months after resigning as the chief justice, Gogoi had said: “What is the magic about Rajya Sabha? I would have been better off in terms of pay, emoluments if I had been chairman of a tribunal. I am not taking a penny from the Rajya Sabha.”
The notice filed on Monday alleged that Gogoi’s comments have undermined the dignity of the House and constitute a breach of privilege, according to NDTV. Mausam Noor and Jawahar Sircar are the two Trinamool Congress MPs who moved the motion.
Parliamentary privilege refers to the rights and immunities enjoyed by members of the two Houses. If proven, the House can issue warning against an MP, impose fines, or even sentence them to prison.