Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and yesteryears Bollywood star Rekha today came under attack in Rajya Sabha for attending the House for only three and seven days, respectively, since their nomination two years back.
P Rajeeve of CPI-M raised the issue of long-duration absence of celebrities as he wanted to know whether they have sought permission for it.
Responding to this, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said Rajeeve and some other members had raised the issue earlier but there was no violation.
"As per Article 104 of the Constitution, if a member is absent from either House of Parliament for a period of 60 days then the seat is considered vacant. In case of Sachin Tendulkar, he has not attended the Parliament for 40 days whereas Rekha's absence is less than this," he observed.
Kurien said Tendulkar was nominated to the Upper House in April 2012 and has attended the session for three days. "Last time he had come to the House on December 13, 2013," he said.
About Rekha, he said she had joined in April 2012 and has attended the session for seven days. "Last time she attended the House on February 19, 2014." Yesterday, NCP leader D P Tripathi had raised the issue outside Parliament.
"I like him (Sachin) very much as a cricketer and I really like Rekha as an actress but their conduct as nominated members of Rajya Sabha is despicable to say the least.
"By their behaviour and continued absence, they have insulted Parliament and Indian Constitution. Such people should have never been nominated to this august house. I pity those MPs who get themselves clicked with Rekha and Sachin Tendulkar," Tripathi had said.
Some other members had also expressed a desire that they felt the cricketing icon should contribute more.
JD(U) MP Ali Anwar said Sachin makes no contribution to parliamentary work "so there is no benefit" of having him in Parliament.
"Those who have made him MP should answer it but the question about him is valid. He is an accomplished person in his field but what is his need here? Chair will take a call according to rules and regulations," Anwar said.
Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is Nominated member of Rajya Sabha, said, "The membership (of Rajya Sabha) is not a trophy that you collected and went away. This is a responsibility, a privilege that you will do something. This is not good."
Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) said, "A question has been raised because people in the Rajya Sabha want him among them. The Chair has said clearly that it is not in violation of laws."