'Go to RS When I Feel Like': TMC MPs Submit Privilege Motion Notice Against Ex-CJI Over Remarks

In an interview to NDTV, Ranjan Gogoi reacted to a question on his low parliament attendance by citing COVID threats and noting that he is not under a party whip.

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New Delhi: Two Trinamool Congress MPs on Monday, December 13, submitted a notice to move a privilege motion against former Chief Justice of India and Rajya Sabha member Ranjan Gogoi over remarks he made about attending parliament in a television interview.

The notice from members Jawhar Sircar and Mausam Noor is yet to be admitted by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

Besides them, several other MPs from various opposition parties are also expected to file notices of privilege motion against Gogoi, the news agency PTI and the news outlet Indian Express have reported.

In an interview to NDTV, Gogoi was asked by journalist Sreenivasan Jain about his low attendance in parliament.

“Of a total of about 68 sittings since when you joined, you only signed the register on six days…,” Jain says, to which Gogoi says that he is “correct”.

“If the idea was to do public service, then why is your record less than 10%,” Jain asks then.

“You ignore the fact that for one or two sessions I had submitted a letter to the house…saying that because of COVID, on medical advice, I am not attending the session…do you know that up to a particular point of time…the last session…perhaps it was the…before the winter session…you could enter the Rajya Sabha only after RT-PCR, personally I did not feel very comfortable doing that, and the pandemic is on and even today I don’t feel very comfortable about going to the Rajya Sabha,” the former CJI says.

When Jain starts to ask if this is a pandemic-related absence, Gogoi, says, “Though social distancing norms have been enforced, they are not being observed, the sitting arrangements, I don’t find very comfortable. But that’s not the point. The point is I go to the Rajya Sabha when I feel like, when I think there are matters of importance on which I should speak.”

He also says that because he is a nominated members, he is not bound by the party whip. “I go there at my choice and I come out at my choice. I am an independent member of the house,” he says.

At a separate portion of the interview, when he was asked about taking up a nominated MP’s role just months after retiring as CJI, Gogoi reportedly said, “What is the magic about Rajya Sabha? I would have been better off in terms of pay, emoluments if I had been chairman of a tribunal. I am not taking a penny from the Rajya Sabha.”

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had said that Gogoi’s remark that he attends parliament “when he feels like” is an insult to it.

MPs from the TMC are also expected to file a complaint against Gogoi with the Ethics Committee, PTI has reported.