NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has decided against referring the disqualification case of rebel Janata Dal (U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar to the privileges committee and will take a call on their memberships himself.
Disqualification petitions against members have been sent to the privileges committee in the past though it is not a hard and fast rule and the chairman has the discretion to settle the matter himself, raising the possibility that a decision may be taken before the winter session of Parliament due in mid-November.
In the case of the JD(U) rebels, Naidu’s decision seems influenced by past experience where the privileges committee has taken 1-2 years to examine a disqualification petition. As the committee is currently headed by deputy chairman and Congress leader PJ Kurien, the possibility of the JD(U) duo not being disqualified in a hurry cannot be ruled out.
By that reckoning, the next Lok Sabha elections might arrive before their disqualification.
After the party’s return to the NDA fold, the JD(U) leadership has urged swift action against Yadav and Anwar who have broken with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and become vocal members of the opposition platform. Yadav has been replaced as leader of the JD(U) in Rajya Sabha with Nitish confidant RCP Singh.
The vice-president’s office has examined the precedents in disqualification cases and found that in the case of Jai Narain Prasad Nishad, who fell out with the BJP in 2006, the MP retained his membership for two years and three months. It took that long after BJP leader Sushma Swaraj moved his disqualification plea with the privileges committee taking 10 months to submit a report.
Nishad ducked three scheduled meetings with the committee on health grounds. It took one year and four months to disqualify BSP’s Isam Singh with the privileges committee taking nine months to examine the case.
Sources said the privileges committee proceedings did not add any value to the case against the MPs other than basing comments on the petitions and the responses. It is also felt that disqualification need not involve the privileges committee as the chairman of the upper House is qualified and empowered to take a decision.
Naidu is understood to be examining the petitions against Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar and their replies.