Haryana: Heated Clash At Assembly After Congress Leaders Demand Resignation Of Sandeep Singh, CM Khattar Rejects It

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda led the Congress legislators during the Zero Hour demand Minister Sandeep Singh's resignation in regard to the chargesheet filed against him in a sexual harassment case.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal speaks Haryana Assembly, in Chandigarh. (representative image)

A heated exchange of words was observed at the Haryana Assembly on Monday when the opposition parties demanded the resignation of Minister Sandeep Singh in regard to the chargesheet filed against him in a case of sexual harassment. But Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar rejected it. 

Manohar Lal Khattar addressed the Assembly saying, "I have decided, resignation will not be sought, won't be sought. No resignation will be sought,"as the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders thumped their desks in support of his statement, including Sandeep Singh.

What happened in the Haryana Assembly today?

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda led the Congress legislators during the Zero Hour demanded Singh's resignation.

 According to a PTI report, the Congress members demanded that Sandeep Singh resign from his position or the Chief Minister remove him from the council of ministers even though Speaker Gian Chand Gupta asserted that this matter cannot be discussed in Parliament because it is sub-judice.

Then Khattar countered the Congress, saying, "We know where they (opposition) stand on moral ground and where we stand. We are answerable to the public."

Further, the leader of the opposition reportedly claimed in the House that the chief minister had used an unparliamentary word. Other Congress members too raised their objection.

However, the Speaker said there is a list of unparliamentary words and if the particular word is mentioned in that, then it would be expunged.

As Congress members were on their feet and some rushed to the Well of the House, the Speaker told them that Sandeep Singh's matter was sub-judice and said, "No sub-judice matter can be discussed here."

Reportedly the Congress members raised slogans against the government and the BJP MLAs responded with counter slogans.

Then the speaker warned the Congress members of suspension and said, "I said the matter is sub-judice. Don't you respect the judiciary?" Gian Chand Gupta as he refuted a Congress member's charge that Sandeep Singh was being protected.

Senior Congress member Raghuvir Singh Kadian reportedly claimed that the chief minister has been defending his minister Sandeep Singh. 

Chief Minister Khattar also launched an attack on the Congress, asking them to remember how many incidents of atrocities against women and the Scheduled Caste took place during their rule.   

Congress member Geeta Bhukkal, however, said it was ironic that while the woman coach, who is the complainant in the case, had recently been suspended by the state sports department, Sandeep Singh continues to be the minister despite the case against him.

Later, the speaker adjourned the House following an uproar over the Nuh violence issue.

Charges against Sandeep Singh

Sandeep Singh is a first-time MLA and former India hockey captain and he currently holds the printing and stationery portfolio in the Haryana government. He had given up the charge of the sports department "on moral grounds" after being booked in the sexual harassment case but claimed that the charges levelled by the woman coach against him were baseless.

The Chandigarh Police a few days ago had submitted a final report against Sandeep Singh before a court, with the charge sheet being filed nearly eight months after registration of the case. Sandeep Singh has been booked under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or criminal force with intent to disrobe), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Meanwhile, the woman coach's advocate Deepanshu Bansal Monday, reacting to Khattar's statement in the House on the Sandeep Singh issue, said, "Today is a black day for women's safety in Haryana. Shocked to see how M L Khattar ji is protecting an accused  @flickersingh who has been charge-sheeted with offences of sexual harassment."