Six MLAs of the Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) were suspended from the Assembly for one year on Monday for their involvement in the attack on S. Michael Rayappan, Radhapuram MLA, in early February.
When Speaker P. Dhanapal announced his ruling, many Opposition parties including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress and the Puthiya Tamizhagam staged a walk out, shouting slogans against the decision.
Immediately after question hour, chairman of the Privileges Committee and Deputy Speaker Pollachi V. Jayaraman submitted the panel’s recommendations to the House, which were accepted by voice vote amid protests from sections of the Opposition, which wanted a discussion.
Mr. Dhanapal announced that the six members – V. C. Chandhirakumar (Erode East), K. Nallathambi (Egmore), D. Murugesan (Chengalpattu), S. Senthilkumar (Tiruverumbur), B. Parthasarathy (Virugambakkam) and R. Arulselvan (Mayiladuthurai) would remain suspended from the House for one year and would not draw salary or enjoy other concessions entitled to them.
The Speaker said there was no need for discussion on the issue as all members were witness to what happened on February 8. The video recording of the incident was shown to the privilege panel members to ascertain the identities of those involved. Moreover, the committee, which discussed the issue before coming out with its recommendations, had representations from various parties. While describing the action of the suspended members as unbecoming of their position, the Speaker asked whether the Opposition felt that nothing had happened. He then ordered the suspended members to leave the House.
On February 8, a clash erupted between loyal DMDK members and rebels who spoke in support of the ruling party. Some of them exchanged blows with Mr. Michael Rayappan. The Speaker referred the issue to the Privileges Committee under Rule 226 of the Assembly Rules after Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam demanded appropriate action, describing the incident as “barbaric and shameful.” The incident took place after a rebel MLA, K. Tamil Azhagan, raising a supplementary query during question hour, asked other members of the DMDK to follow his example in serving the people of the constituency – a reference to his meeting the Chief Minister to discuss constituency matters.