Council ruckus: Special panel to be formed to conduct probe

Report says Dy. Chairman ‘spontaneously’ occupied presiding officer’s chair

Legislative Council Chairman K. Prathapchandra Shetty is on Monday learnt to have directed the formation of a special legislature committee, led by senior JD(S) MLC Maritibbe Gowda, to probe into the pandemonium in the Council on December 15.

The formation of the committee follows Council Secretary K.R. Mahalakshmi’s report to the Chairman, submitted three days ago, that said S.L. Dharme Gowda, Deputy Chairman of the Council, “spontaneously” occupied the chair to conduct the session, which witnessed Mr. Dharme Gowda being pulled from the Chairman’s seat over a row related to the no-confidence motion sought to be moved against the Council chairman. The Secretary, said in her report, that she had informed the rules of the House to the Deputy Chairman. But Mr. Dharme Gowda occupied the chair and started conducting the business, sources said.

Mr. Shetty was reportedly locked out of the House during the pandemonium. Congress members had to force open the door of the House, after which the Chairman walked in and adjourned the House sine die, a few minutes later. Mr. Dharme Gowda had later expressed hurt at how he was pulled around when occupying the chair.

“Usually such matters are referred to the Committee on Ethics, which is led by the Deputy Chairman of the Council. But since the Deputy Chairman himself was under the lens, the Chairman directed the formation of an all-party special legislature committee composed of senior members of the Council, based on precedence,” said a senior MLC, who did not wish to be named.

Following the ruckus in the Council, Mr. Shetty had issued a show-cause notice to Ms. Mahalakshmi asking for a detailed report on the events in the House on December 15, which led to sine die adjournment.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shetty speaking to The Hindu, confirmed that the Secretary had submitted her report to him. Mr. Shetty said that Ms. Mahalakshmi in her response said the Deputy Chairman suddenly occupied the Chairperson’s seat. “This was unexpected. Even when I was approaching the seat to hand over the House rules book, he was engaged in getting files from his PA. I kept the rules book on his table and came back. By then B.K. Hariprasad (Congress) rushed to the chair saying the bell was still ringing and that the Deputy Chairperson’s actions were against parliamentary procedures. Then, Y.A. Narayanaswamy (BJP) replied that there was a no-confidence motion against the Chairperson. Following this, a ruckus erupted,” she said in her report. Ms. Mahalakshmi said she had not committed any mistake on her part in conducting the session and “all of a sudden developments happened in the House” wherein members indulged in pushing each other.

In his condolence message, Mr. Shetty expressed shock over the sudden demise of Mr. Dharme Gowda, who had worked for long in the field of cooperation.

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