Do not be sensitive to criticism: Bhushan to MPs

Facing breach of privilege notice for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks against MPs, Team Anna Hazare member Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday asked them "not to be so sensitive" to criticism.

New Delhi: Facing breach of privilege notice
for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks against MPs, Team
Anna Hazare member Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday asked them "not to
be so sensitive" to criticism but reflect upon why public
perception about them has come to be what it is.

Like his associates Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, who
are facing charges of breach of privilege, he also sought
tapes or transcripts of TV discussions during which he had
made the alleged remarks for replying to the notices given by
some MPs against him.

"I would like to say that whatever I have been saying
about Parliament, its members and their conduct, is either a
statement of fact, or inferences derived from those facts or
bonafide comments on those made by me in public interest and
to improve the functioning of our democracy.

"...I would therefore urge the house and its members not
to be so sensitive about criticism and instead reflect upon
why public perception about Parliament and its members has
come to be what it is and explore ways and means to improve
the functioning of our democracy," Bhushan said.

In his letter sent to Mukul Pande, Director of Rajya
Sabha Secretariat, he said the Article 105 required Parliament
to codify its privileges but "unfortunately" this has not been
done even 61 years after Independence.

Claiming that the law of defamation is a sufficient
safeguard to protect the reputation of MPs, he said, if anyone
makes an unfair accusation about Parliament or MPs, it would
generally be seen and perceived to be unfair by people.

He said any attempt by to use privileges to stifle
freedom of speech of citizens who criticise MPs would only
reinforce the feeling that there is a "serious problem" in the
functioning of Parliament and that it was trying to stifle
those who were raising "uncomfortable questions".

PTI

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