India Parliament faces historic number of suspensions amid security concerns News
© WikiMedia (A.Savin)
India Parliament faces historic number of suspensions amid security concerns

The Indian Parliament witnessed a historic number of suspensions Tuesday as 141 opposition lawmakers were suspended for disrupting proceedings. The disruption, initiated by two individuals entering the Lok Sabha from the visitor’s gallery, raised concerns about parliamentary security.

The suspensions began last Thursday when 14 Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) were suspended. 13 were from Los Sabha, and one was from Rajya Sabha. The tension reached its peak on Monday with a record-breaking 78 suspensions (33 from Lok Sabha and 45 from Rajya Sabha), followed by an additional 49 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 141: 95 from Lok Sabha and 46 from Rajya Sabha.

A protest began, led by opposition parties seeking a statement from the government. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla invoked rules 373, 374 and 374A of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, instructing marshals to evict the protesting lawmakers. Evicted MPs continued their demonstrations outside the chambers, leading to their suspension for the remainder of the winter session. Tuesday marked the highest single-day suspensions, involving a total of 78 MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The mass suspensions triggered outrage and accusations of a “mockery of democracy” from the opposition. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge condemned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for allegedly suppressing dissent and rushing legislation without proper debate. In response to the suspensions, Kharge tweeted, “The suspension of a total of 141 Opposition MPs from Parliament reinforces our charge that an autocratic BJP wants to demolish democracy in this country. We all know that key Bills like the criminal law amendments, which unleash draconian powers and impede citizen’s rights, are listed.”

The wave of suspensions thinned the opposition benches in the Lok Sabha, creating an almost empty assembly on a day dedicated to legislative reforms. The Parliament engaged in deliberations on bills like the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, which seek to reform criminal laws by replacing some of India’s existing criminal procedure laws. Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed some of these criminal reform laws. After losing more than 90 members to suspensions, the Opposition INDIA bloc now only has 43 active members.