New Delhi: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said AIMIM legislator Waris Pathan's suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly was not good for democracy.
Pathan on Wednesday created furore in the Assembly when he refused to say "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" on the insistence of BJP legislator Ram Kadam.
This outraged other members from all parties who demanded the suspension of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator for what they termed an 'insult' to the motherland.
Reacting to Pathan's suspension, Owaisi said the development will set wrong precedent and it is not good for democracy.
"This is for the first time in the history of Indian democracy that an elected member has been suspended for not raising a slogan. Parliament and Assemblies are a forum for debates where sloganeering is not allowed," Owaisi told PTI.
"When the Prime Minister says he only follows the Constitution, where in the Constitution it is written that an elected member will be suspended if he does not shout a slogan?" he said.
While the Speaker has discretionary powers, a member can only be suspended if he uses unparliamentary language or indulges in unparliamentary behaviour, he said.
"Here a member is being forced to say something which the Constitution allows him not to say. That is his freedom of expression," he said, adding no law is violated if a slogan is not raised.
"We are heading into an age of darkness. By supporting the suspension motion, Congress and NCP, who call themselves secular, have been completely exposed," he said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ranit Patil moved a proposal for suspending Pathan for the entire duration of the ongoing Budget Session, which was approved.
Refusing to comply with Kadam's request, Pathan referred to Bollywood writer Javed Akhtar's speech in Parliament and said: "If Javed Sahab wants to say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', let him, we won't. We will say 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Jai Hind'."
By commenting on the cap worn by (party chief) Asaduddin Owaisi, Javed Akhtar has insulted Muslims of not only India but the whole world, he added.