The Opposition in Madhya Pradesh claimed on Wednesday that some recent changes to rules of procedure in the state Assembly had taken away legislators’ rights. The Congress moved a no-confidence motion against Speaker Sitasharan Sharma after he refused to have a discussion over the amended rules and the alleged suicide of a minister’s daughter-in-law, The Times of India reported.
The amended rules allow the state Cabinet to move a “confidence motion” in the Assembly, which will get precedence over any no-confidence motion by the Opposition. The rules also restrict legislators from asking in the Assembly any questions about communal riots and sensitive topics, according to the Hindustan Times.
After the Congress MLAs objected on Wednesday, the speaker assured them that the amended rules would be reconsidered, Dainik Bhaskar reported. The changes have, however, already been notified.
Defending the amended rules, Sharma said outside the Assembly that the changes were tabled on March 8 for legislators to express their concerns within a week. But since no one objected, they came into effect on March 15, Nai Duniya quoted him as saying.
However, Congress MLA Sachin Yadav told Hindustan Times that he never saw the final draft of the amended rules, and his party “never knew that a report on changed rules was tabled”.
The rules also prohibit members from arguing further if the speaker calls any of his statements as “unparliamentary”. Members must also not ask questions over the security of persons in important constitutional posts, such as the chief minister and the governor, according to the new rules.
In its notice for a no-confidence motion against the speaker, the Congress alleged that he was running the House in a biased manner. The party alleged that the changed rules were meant to gag their voice and were an infringement of the MLAs’ rights – a claim that Sharma denied. Sharma said amended rules do not violate any law, The Times of India reported.
“It seems the speaker was acting in a partisan manner and the House is being run by the state legislative affairs minister,” Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh said on Wednesday.