New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday suspended 25 Congress members for five days for "willfully obstructing the business of the house".
The Speaker 'named' (identifying for action) the 25 Congress members who were carrying placards and shouting slogans in the Well while pressing for resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi row and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over Vyapam scam.
While taking the tough action under Rule 374(A), she said the members were being suspended for "persistently, wilfully obstructing the House".
She ruled that the 'named' members will not attend five sittings of the House. Congress has 44 members in all.
Mahajan adjourned the House immediately after. However, a number of the Congress members staged a sit-in in the House.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi also did not leave the House for quite some time and were seen holding discussions with leaders of some other opposition parties.
Her action came after several warnings and despite pleas by TMC leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay and CPI(M) leader P Karunakaran that it would aggravate the situation.
The Rule 374(A) says, "Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less."
The move came after the government approached the Speaker slamming the Opposition for obstructing the House for the past several days.
Such a major action is the first in the current Lok Sabha.