Nationalist Congress Party chief (NCP) Sharad Pawar on Thursday expressed reservations on the composition of the committee formed to hear the breach of privilege notice against Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut. Speaker Rahul Narvekar on Wednesday set up a 15-member privileges committee of the House for 2023-24 to be headed by BJP legislator Rahul Kul, amid uproar over Raut allegedly calling the Vidhimandal (state legislature) “chor-mandal” (council of thieves).
In a series of tweets, Pawar said the complainant has been entrusted with the task of justice delivery and members who demanded strict action against Raut are part of the privileges committee. “How can one expect justice,” he asked.Terming Raut’s comments serious and an insult of the legislature, the speaker had said he would conduct an inquiry and give his ruling on March 8.The 15-member committee comprises three MLAs of the NCP, two members of the Congress, two independent MLAs supporting the ruling alliance, two MLAs of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and six BJP MLAs. No MLA of the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena found a place on the panel.
Pawar said Raut’s comments need to be seen in totality. Earlier, during the tenure of Vasantdada Patil, the Opposition had commented that the government was akin to “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. He said such criticism of the state legislature is not acceptable. The case needs to be handled sensitively and it is to be seen whether Raut’s comments referred to a particular group or the state legislature, he said.
The members of the privileges committee should have been unbiased and senior legislators, said Pawar, adding that Raut is a senior member of the Rajya Sabha and consideration should be given to legal advice and constitutional provisions before taking any action in this matter.