Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla

Speaker assures decision on Azam Khan after MPs seek exemplary action

ANI | Updated: Jul 26, 2019 17:02 IST

New Delhi (India), July 26 (ANI) Cutting across party lines, members in the Lok Sabha on Friday condemned the sexist remarks made by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan against a woman BJP member with several from the BJP demanding "exemplary" action against him as Speaker Om Birla assured the House that he will take a decision shortly.
Khan had sparked a controversy by making objectionable remarks against BJP MP Rama Devi when she was presiding over the House during the debate on the triple talaq bill yesterday.
"I will take a decision shortly after consulting leaders of various parties," Birla said at the end of an impromptu condemnation of Khan's remarks.
The Speaker's ruling came after members from various parties condemned the remarks of Khan and several of them sought strict action against him.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded that Khan should apologise for his remarks or be suspended from the House.
The issue was raised in the Zero Hour by BJP MP Sanghamitra Maurya who said that what happened in the House on Friday was undignified and said Azam Khan has to come to the House and apologize.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said she had never heard such comments in her legislative career. "The issue is not about women. The entire House was insulted. This is a blot on all legislators including men," she said.
She added that members enjoy privilege in the house and if such an incident would have taken place outside then women would have lodged a police complaint.
Irani said the Parliament had passed a law against sexual harassment at workplace. "We cannot be mute spectators," she said.
She appealed to the entire House to leave aside political differences and send a message that "you cannot misbehave with a woman".
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanded exemplary action against Khan and called his remarks as "utterly condemnable conduct".
"It is an abominable act... You are empowered adequately... In this particular case, every member of the House has felt strongly, we look towards you for an exemplary action in this matter... so that never ever women will be politicized or women will be treated badly or abused," she said.
Sitharaman said that "it is very encouraging to see members stand up, all wanting to speak in one voice, about what happened yesterday in the House - utterly condemnable conduct."
"At this time, to again politicize an issue related to women is outrageous, let us all stand together, speak in one voice, which is what I thought was happening here. Why is that hesitation? Why is that dilemma? Why is that doubt?" she added referring to Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who while speaking on the issue mentioned how BJP leaders targeted UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi calling her "Italian Bahu".
However, due to disruptions by treasury benches members, he could not complete his sentence.
The Congress leader said the issue should be referred to the ethics or privileges committee of the House.
Biju Janata Dal's Bhratruhari Mahtab said the act of the SP member was "shameful" and "unpardonable" and urged the chair to take an exemplary action based on rules and precedents of the House.
"The House empowers you to take action. Go into the directions of previous Speakers and take action as per rules and regulations," he said. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called Khan's remarks "utterly condemnable" and said it happened with a woman who was occupying the chair.
"It is very encouraging to see everyone stand up and speak in once voice condemning what happened yesterday. We look towards you (LS Speaker) for exemplary action against him," she said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged the Speaker to take most exemplary action in the matter.
"You are the custodian of the House. Many members have expressed their views. We have to maintain the decorum of the House. Without any ifs and buts and as suggested by Mahtabji, I urge you to take most exemplary action. I appeal to house leave the issue with Speaker," he said.
However, BJP's Nishikant Dubey sought immediate action against Khan citing rules of the proceedings of the House. "Since the ethics committee has not been yet constituted, you can take action," he said.
AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi also sought tough action against Khan, but at the same time, he took a swipe at the treasury benches raking up the issue of former minister M J Akbar, who is facing charges of sexual harassment.
Members from Trinamool Congress, NCP and JD-U too demanded strict action against Khan.
Minister Babul Supriyo said that though Azam Khan's remarks were expunged, the TV channels had shown them and the entire country had watched. He also demanded strict action.
Azam Khan, on Thursday, made objectionable remarks against BJP member Rama Devi, who was presiding over the House as BJP members sought an apology from him.
Khan did not apologise and said he will resign if he had said anything unparliamentary. He also staged a walkout along with his party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who defended his remarks.
Azam Khan made remarks that were perceived to be sexist by the treasury benches and they strongly objected, Khan said she was very respected and was like a sister to her. (ANI)