Mahua Moitra called out members of the current justice regime, including law officers and judges while speaking at the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture Series on Monday.
Moitra was speaking at the second edition of the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture Series, on the topic Is Disruption of Parliamentary Proceedings an MP’s Privilege And/Or A Facet of Parliamentary Democracy?
“The second highest law officer of this land swore in open court that there were no migrants on the streets while a judge conveniently chose to blind himself. Who in truth are the actual disruptors? Who were the anti-nationals?
Similarly, if someone dares to call out their co-conspirator, a sexual harasser who had been rewarded with a plum Rajya Sabha seat, then given a clean chit by his successor, who disregarded every fundamental principle of holding an unbiased enquiry, she’s threatened with breach of privilege?”
She also lamented being named an anti-national and threatened with breach of privilege for calling out “a sexual harasser” who was later nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
In appreciation of Ram Jethmalani’s forthrightness and bluntness in matters of public interest, she questioned if the senior lawyer would have been considered ‘anti-national’ if he had spoken for the rights of migrant labourers and their families who had to walk hundreds of miles during COVID lockdown in 2020.
“I wonder how Ram Jethmalani would have reacted today had he witnessed the erosion of our constitutional values and morality and the sheer complicities to those duty-bound to prevent such destruction….Would Ram Jethmalani be called an anti national if he had raised the issues of migrant labourers who walked hundreds of miles,” Moitra said.
The Member of Parliament took exception to the topic being addressed at the event, remarking that it was mischievous in itself, as it was not the opposition that was simply disrupting Parliament. She pointed out that a graver issue bubbled at the surface, one of intentional manipulation.
“Please take it from me as a member of the opposition, our parliamentary proceedings are not only disrupted but are being actively subverted and manipulated. Session after session, in parliament and outside it, the voices of 200 MPs are routinely stunted. They are hell bent on drowning out any thoughts which could dent their divisive agenda.”
Moitra explained that the cause of these disruptions and intentional subversions was the fear of a pluralistic society and was leading to disruption of the country’s democratic spirit.
“Fascist forces who cannot handle the slightest hint of pluralism are the ones who are truly responsible for disrupting the spirit of parliamentary democracy in India.”
“Let me now clarify that protest and dissent are absolutely essential facets of any genuine democracy. Is it not the very highest moral responsibility and duty of the opposition member to get up, to rise and speak truth to power?”, asked Moitra, wondering how such protest and opposition can be turned by any right thinking individual into disruption.
She asserted in no unclear terms,
“Such protestations, that some might call disruptions, against an ideology that emerges from brute majority and fascist are not demonstrations of an MP’s privilege. Rather they are the highest ethical and moral duty of an elected representative.”
Moitra summed up her speech declaring, “Thank God for minor mercies,” appreciating the current Chief Justice of India NV Ramana for understanding the separation of powers and asking the government tough questions.