India news August 8, 2014

Tendulkar criticised for Rajya Sabha absence

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sachin Tendulkar was at the felicitation of India's Commonwealth Games medal winners in Delhi on Friday © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar's absence from the Rajya Sabha, the upper house in India's parliament, has come under scrutiny. Since he took oath as an MP in April 2012, Tendulkar has a 3% attendance record, having attended parliament on just three days and last in December 2013. He has not attended a single sitting this year.

The issue was raised in the house by P Rajeeve of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who asked if Tendulkar had sought permission for his extended absence and demanded his seat be vacated. In response, deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, PJ Kurien said, "As per Article 104 of the Constitution, if a member is absent from either House of Parliament for a period of 60 days then the seat is considered vacant. In case of Sachin Tendulkar, he has not attended the Parliament for 40 days, so he hasn't violated Constitutional provisions."

Tendulkar, however, said he had been missing because of a medical emergency in his family. "My absence in parliament has been discussed too much," he told reporters in Delhi. "I do not wish to disrespect any institution. I had a medical emergency in the family. My brother had heart surgery."

Tendulkar's decision to accept the Rajya Sabha nomination while still being an active cricketer had been received with surprise. At the time Tendulkar had described the nomination as an 'honour'. Rajiv Shukla, a minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of the time and a senior BCCI official, was seen as the driving force behind convincing Tendulkar to accept the role. Shukla has also been critical of Tendulkar. "Why have you chosen to become a member of Parliament if you don't attend?" he told a television news channel and said he had spoken to Tendulkar, who had promised to join the next Rajya Sabha session.

According to the Indian constitution, 12 members are nominated by the President of India from "among persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service. By adopting the principle of nomination in Rajya Sabha, the Constitution has ensured that the nation must also receive services of the most distinguished persons of the country who have earned distinction in their field of activity, many of whom may not like to face the rough and tumble of the election."