Roja case: Andhra house panel for year-long suspension, house to give hearing

Hyderabad, March 21 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly on Monday decided to give YSR Congress legislator R.K. Roja another opportunity to appear before the privileges committee with regard to her behaviour in the house, which led to her suspension for one year.

Legislative Affairs Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu announced in the house that Roja will get another opportunity to offer her explanation with regard to the incidents that took place in the house on December 18 last year.

The committee on Monday submitted its report recommending Roja’s suspension from the house for one year.

The panel will submit another report, based on which the house will take final decision. “Till that time the member will remain suspended,” the minister said, adding that with regard to three other legislators of YSR Congress, the house has accepted the apologies tendered by them while appearing before the committee.

Ramakrishnudu said it was also decided to defer the issue relating to another opposition legislator Kodali Nani. The committee, in its report, left it to the house to take action against him.

Speaker K. Sivaprasad Rao said while mistakes do happen, the members involved should apologise. He pointed out that many members in the past even gave written apologies for their behaviour in the house.

As many as 15 legislator of ruling Telugu Desam party participated in four-hour-long debate on the report of the privileges committee in the absence of the lone opposition party, which is boycotting the proceedings to protest the government’s action in not allowing Roja to attend the house despite the high court granting interim stay on her suspension.

While giving the interim stay last week, a single judge of the Hyderabad High Court had made it clear that the speaker is not precluded from taking action based on the recommendations of the privileges committee.

The legislature secretary has challenged the single judge’s order before a division bench, which heard the arguments from both sides on Monday and reserved the orders till Tuesday.

Roja, the actress-turned-politician who represents Nagari constituency in Chittoor district, was suspended from the house for one year during the winter session for allegedly using abusive language against ruling party members including Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

A resolution for her suspension was adopted unanimously by a voice vote. The speaker had later referred the issue to the privileges committee.

The committee, in its report, said Roja did not appear before it though she was asked to make herself available and clarify her stand.

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