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Ethics panel set to form code of conduct for Lok Sabha MPs

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 2 days ago Liz Mathew

With two legislators forced to apologise for their remarks in the two sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha, its Ethics Committee is all set to form a code of conduct for MPs in the Lower House. After BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur triggered a controversy with her remarks on Nathuram Godse, the Ethics Committee initiated discussions on it on Monday.

a group of people standing in front of a building © Provided by The Indian Express

The panel, headed by BJP’s Vinod Kumar Sonkar, met on Monday and decided to seek suggestions as well as views from all political parties for the code that would oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the MPs. A code of conduct had come into force for the Rajya Sabha MPs in 2005.

In the meeting, the 14-member committee decided to study code of conduct for the lawmakers in the US, UK and other countries, sources said.

While SP leader Azam Khan had created controversy in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha with a sexist remark against BJP’s Rema Devi, who was then in the chair, the ongoing winter session witnessed uproarious scenes when Thakur made a remark about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Godse.

While Thakur’s remarks were expunged, the Opposition protests forced the ruling BJP to direct her to tender an apology twice on the floor of the House.

Sources said the two incidents have made it necessary to lay down a format on code of conduct, especially in the backdrop of new technologies in the communication sector. “Unlike in the past, the remarks on the floor of the House spread fast, even if they are expunged from the records. So the MPs will have to follow certain decorum in speaking inside the House as well as outside,” a source said.

During the meeting on Monday, members warned that such a code will have long lasting impact and thereby it should be “carefully discussed and deliberated in detail”. The political parties would be asked to give their opinions and suggestions, the source said.

Sources said the discussions have just begun and no time frame has been finalised to come up with a format. However, they indicated that no decision would be taken in a hurry without proper study.

With proceedings getting disrupted often in the Rajya Sabha, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has suggested changes in the code so that “disruptive activities” in whatever form can be brought down.

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