New Delhi: Continued absence of film star and TMC member Mithun Chakraborty from Rajya Sabha was on Tuesday questioned by fellow members who said there should be a code of conduct to ensure parties nominate those persons who can contribute to Parliamentary democracy by their presence.
The issue came up when Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he has received a letter from Chakraborty stating that "he is unable to attend the sittings of the House during the current session on health grounds".
As he sought opinion of the members if the TMC member had permission of the House to remain absent from April 25 to May 13, Naresh Agarwal (SP) rose to ask how long can a member remain away from the House on health grounds.
"I have been seeing it that in every session there is a letter from Mithun Chakraborty stating he is unable to attend the house and he gets exemption from the House.
"But there has to be a limit. It is fine if someone is ill or is in some distress. But if a member does this in every session, it is a misuse of a facility," he said.
He was joined by K C Tyagi (JDU) who said there should be a model code of conduct for political parties to ensure that they send such persons to the Rajya Sabha who can be part of its proceedings and the House benefits from their participation.
"If someone is sick or has some urgent work, then a record of it must be presented before the House. But if someone is working in his field but has been regularly missing the House then it should be considered insult to the House," he said.
He wanted code of conduct to be framed where a member should not be given permission to remaining continuously absent if he is helping private companies.
As Agrawal sought ruling from the Chair, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said Mithun Chakraborty "is sick for a long time and he has also submitted medical reports to that effect. So, now, I request the august House to consider his leave of absence."
Kurien said when somebody says that he is sick, the Chair cannot disbelieve it.
"Prima facie the Chair has to accept it. However, if it is proved otherwise, then we can see wht we can do," he said, adding in the present case there was no limitation and the leave of absence was granted.
"Permission to remain absent is granted," he said. The Chair can declare a seat vacated if a member remains absent from House sittings for 60 consecutive days without permission.
According to data available on the website of PRS Legislative Research, Chakraborty has 10 per cent attendance in the House against an average of 78 per cent. He has so far not participated in any debate, nor has he asked any question or moved a private members' bill.
Previously, members had raised similar concerns over absence of bollywood start Rekha and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in 2014....