Patna: A piquant situation arose Monday in the Bihar Assembly when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha had a heated exchange over whether a matter being probed by the government which has also been referred to the privilege committee could be raised on the floor of the House ‘again and again’.
The chief minister rose to express his outrage when the speaker asked Cabinet Minister Bijendra Yadav to appraise the House, after a couple of days, of action taken on an incident in Lakhisarai, which also happens to be Sinha’s assembly constituency.
“The minister has been authorised to reply on behalf of the government. When he has submitted that inquiry is underway, you ask him to come up with a fresh reply the day after tomorrow. This is against the rules. Please look at the Constitution,” Nitish Kumar said.
The privilege committee of the House has directed the DGP to conduct an inquiry into the alleged misbehaviour, with the speaker, of a Deputy SP in Lakhisarai and the SHO of the police station concerned a few days back.
The conflict between the speaker and the chief minister over the enquiry is also being viewed by some as a reflection of the strained relations between the JD(U) which Kumar leads and its ally BJP to which the speaker belongs.
It is for the government and the police to take action in such matters. The report of the investigation has to be submitted before the court, Kumar said.
“Is the House empowered to intervene in the matter? I am serving my fourth term as the chief minister. I was also a member of the Assembly once. Never have I seen such a procedural anomaly. Please don’t run the House in this manner,” Kumar said.
Sinha began on a pacifying note, expressing the immense respect he had for the chief minister’s knowledge and experience, besides acknowledging the latter’s support ‘which helped my elevation to this Chair’.
“But please understand my predicament. Initially, I had tried not to indulge any discussion in the matter after it was referred to the privilege committee. But members from the treasury benches and the opposition have created a ruckus again and again. After all, I am supposed to be the custodian of the House,” pleaded Sinha.
Notably, outbursts of Sinha over alleged wrongful arrest of a number of people in Lakhisarai for violation of prohibition law were in news last month.
The chief minister again rose upon the speaker’s statement and said, “I will inquire today itself into the progress in the investigation. The government will look into whatever recommendations the committee has made. But this matter must not be discussed on the floor of the House again and again.”