Slamming BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri for his derogatory remarks on BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday said Bidhuri’s remarks are humiliating for all Indians and have made a mockery of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.
Ramesh, who is the Congress’ general secretary in-charge of communications, while speaking to the media at the party headquarters, said, “This is simply not acceptable, it’s a half-hearted apology, an afterthought. What Bidhuri has said is an insult to Parliament and makes a mockery of what the prime minister keeps on repeating ‘sabka saath, sabka vishwas’, which all becomes ‘bakwaas’ (rubbish).”
He added that the strictest possible action — including but not limited to suspension — should be taken against Bidhuri.
Ramesh asked, “If this is not a fit case for suspension then how are AAP Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha suspended for exercising their rights in Parliament? Bidhuri’s language is not an insult to Danish Ali alone but it is an insult to every MP and every Indian.”
He said further that the BJP must take the strongest action against Bidhuri and that the apology in Parliament by defence minister Rajnath Singh was just an ‘eyewash’.
On Thursday, Bidhuri, the BJP MP from South Delhi, had used unprecedented, abusive language against Ali; he was taking part in a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Chandrayaan-3 mission. Bidhuri’s remarks were later expunged from the records.
Speaker Om Birla has reportedly warned Bidhuri that if he repeats such behaviour in Parliament, strict action could be taken against him.
Parliaments and legislative bodies around the world impose certain rules and standards during debates. Tradition has evolved that there are words or phrases that are deemed inappropriate for use in the legislature whilst it is in session. In a Westminster system, this is called unparliamentary language and there are similar rules in other kinds of legislative systems. This includes, but is not limited to, the suggestion of dishonesty or the use of profanity.
Most unacceptable is any insinuation that another member is dishonourable. So, for example, in the British House of Commons, any direct reference to a member as lying is unacceptable, even if the allegation is substantively true. A conventional alternative, when necessary, is to complain of a “terminological inexactitude“.
Exactly what constitutes unparliamentary language is generally left to the discretion of the Speaker of the House. Part of the speaker’s job can be to enforce the assembly’s debating rules, one of which is that members may not use “unparliamentary” language. That is, their words must not offend the dignity of the assembly. In addition, legislators in some places are protected from prosecution and civil actions by parliamentary immunity which generally stipulates that they cannot be sued or otherwise prosecuted for anything spoken in the legislature.
Consequently, they are expected to avoid using words or phrases that might be seen as abusing that immunity.
In 2012, the Indian Parliament published a book of words and phrases that were considered to be unparliamentary:
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, bad man, badmashi, bandicoot, blackmail, blind, deaf and dumb, bluffing, bribe, bucket of shit, communist, confused mind, dacoit, darling (said to a female MP), deceive, double-minded, double-talk, downtrodden, goonda, lazy, liar, loudmouth, lousy, nuisance, racketeer, radical extremist, rat, ringmaster, scumbag, thief, thumbprint (to an illiterate MP)
In July 2022, the Lok Sabha Secretariat came up with a booklet of unparliamentary words with an additional list of the following:
abused, ahankaar, anarchist, apmaan, asatya, ashamed, baal buddhi, bechara, behri sarkar, betrayed, bloodshed, bloody, bobcut, chamcha, chamchagiri, cheated, chelas, childishness, corrupt, Covid spreader, coward, criminal, crocodile tears, daadagiri, dalal, danga, dhindora peetna, dictatorial, disgrace, dohra charitra, donkey, drama, eyewash, foolish, fudge, gaddar, ghadiyali ansu, girgit, goons, hooliganism, hypocrisy, incompetent, Jaichand, jumlajeevi, kala bazaari, kala din, Khalistani, khareed farokht, khoon se kheti, lie, lollypop, mislead, nautanki, nikamma, pitthu, samvedanheen, sexual harassment, Shakuni, Snoopgate, taanashah, taanashahi, untrue, vinash purush, vishwasghat.