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news details
Farooq Abdullah has to apply for leave from Lok Sabha to remain arrested by govt
2/20/2020 10:32:03 PM

New Delhi, Feb 21: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, who is also a sitting Lok Sabha MP, has been kept under house arrest at his Srinagar residence since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. Since Sep 16, 2019 his detention has been under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Farooq Abdullah though detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) has in fact constantly been in touch with the Lok Sabha. Three times, after his arrest, he has applied for leave from the Lower House.
In response to a Right to Information Application filed by aegncies , the Lok Sabha secretariat made these startling revelations. It said, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, MP has applied for leave of absence from the sitting on the house w.e.f. 05.08.2019 to 06.08.2019, 18.11.2019 to 13.12.2019 and 31.01.2020 to 11.02.2020. This means that he has applied twice for leave even after the former CM was arrested under the PSA.
A news agency had asked for a copy of his leave application which has been refused. The reason for the refusal - "his application for leave of absence is under consideration of the Committee on the Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House. Since the matter is under the consideration of the Committee on the Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House, the copy of his leave application cannot be provided to the applicant at this stage."
We had also asked for how long has Farooq Abdullah been absent from the house. The Lok Sabha replied, "Details of signing/not signing the Attendance Register by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, MP during all the sessions of 17th Lok Sabha are available on the website of the Lok Sabha i.e., www.loksabha.nic.in ........The applicant may, however, note that it is possible that Dr. Farooq Abdullah, MP might have attended the sitting of the House on a particular day but did not sign or forgot to sign the Attendance Register for that day. "
Either this is a standard response that the Lok Sabha Secretariat gives out to anybody inquiring about House attendance or the Lok Sabha is not aware that its second-oldest member - the 82-year-od representing Srinagar constituency is not allowed, by the Government, to leave his house. In either case, this defeats the purpose of an RTI Act that the same House voted to be law.
One of the other questions in our RTI petition was about the name of MPs in the present Lok Sabha who may also have applied for leave. The reply to this was, the Committee on Absence of Members from the sittings of the House considers and examines cases of leave of absence of members from the sittings of the House. Detailed information regarding members who have applied for leave of absence and have been granted the same by the Lok Sabha along with the grounds for leave of absence during 17th Lok Sabha is available on the website of Lok Sabha i.e. www.loksabha.nic.in."
When we went to the suggested page, there were five names of different MPs who have applied for leave and they have been granted. Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s name is not one of them. One of the names is that of Atul Kumar Singh alias Atul Rai who applied for leave because of his detention in Jail.
In response to a question of how long a member may remain absent from the house the Lok Sabha secretariat said, As per Article 101(4) of the Constitution of India, 'If for a period of sixty days a member of either House of Parliament is without permission of the House absent from all meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant. Provided that in computing the said period of sixty days no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or is adjourned for more than four consecutive days.
We had also asked whether the Government has informed the Lok Sabha about the reasons for the absence of Farooq Abdullah from the House? If yes, to please provide a copy of the information. In response to this the Lok Sabha Secretariat said, This query does not pertain to this branch.
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