Supreme Court revokes ‘irrational’ suspension of 12 Maha BJP MLAs

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the suspension of 12 BJP MLAs by the Maharashtra Assembly, terming it “undemocratic” and “irrational”.

In a landmark judgment, a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said suspending a member of the House or the Legislative Assembly beyond the remaining period of the ongoing session would result in a lesser majority or the overall democracy by allowing the coalition government to manipulate the numbers. system will be affected. In the undemocratic manner of the opposition party.

In its judgment delivered on petitions filed by 12 BJP MLAs challenging their one-year suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer, a bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar observed that one year The suspension is “worse”. Compared to “expulsion, disqualification or resignation”.

“As a conclusion, we have no hesitation in allowing these writ petitions and to declare that the motion directing suspension of the petitioners beyond the remaining period of the concerned monsoon session held in July 2021 is in the eyes of law. Non-recognition is unconstitutional, largely illegal and irrational,” the bench said.

The top court declared the resolution “ineffective in law” so far as the period beyond the remainder of the said session in which the resolution was passed. It said that the 12 MLAs are entitled to all consequential benefits of being members of the Legislative Assembly on and after the expiry of the remaining period of the session concerned. The top court said the suspension after the remaining period of the ongoing session would violate “basic democratic values” due to unnecessary absence of the member concerned and more importantly, the constituency would not be represented in the assembly.

In its 90-page judgment, the Bench said, “Suffice it to see that suspension of one year is worse than ‘expulsion’, ‘disqualification’ or ‘resignation’ – so far as before the House/Assembly The right of the constituency to represent is concerned.” The bench observed that in the absence of any explicit provision conferring on the legislature the power to suspend its members beyond the period of the ongoing session, the inherent power of the legislature can be exercised only to the extent necessary and for the proper exercise of the functions. could. home at the relevant time.

The top court, which referred to Rule 53 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, which deals with the power to order the withdrawal of a member, said that this rule is not only for passing a “drastic order” of withdrawal of a member. Describes the procedure to be followed. member but also about the rationality of the original disciplinary or self-protective measure to be taken in a graded manner.

“Compliance or deviation from the former (procedure) may be unjustified. However, judicial review on the member who is at fault with respect to the reasonableness of the original disciplinary or self-protective measure, is unconstitutional, grossly illegal and irrational or arbitrary.” is open to the public,” the bench said.

It is noted that if it is a case of gross disorderly behavior in the House, the Speaker/Chairman himself is free to take an immediate decision by ordering the member to withdraw from the sittings of the Assembly during the remaining sittings of the day and if If so then a case of repeated misconduct in the same session – for the rest of the session.

“A priori, if a resolution passed by the House were to provide for suspension beyond the period prescribed under the specified rule, it would be largely illegal, irrational and unconstitutional,” it said. The bench said the suspension beyond the remaining period of the ongoing session would also affect the democratic set-up by allowing the thin majority government (coalition government) of the day to manipulate the numbers of the opposition party in the House in an “undemocratic manner”. way.”

The top court said the opposition would not be able to effectively participate in the discussion in the House due to the constant fear of its members being suspended for a long period. It has been observed that it is in the public domain through print, electronic and social media, that members of Parliament or Legislative Assembly or Council of State, spend most of their time in a “hostile environment” and that Parliament and Legislative Assembly are becoming more and more “intransitive place”. The top court said that in order to become a world leader and self-reliant or dependent, the quality of debate in the House should be of the highest order and directed towards the internal constitutional and indigenous issues facing the common man.

“In any case, there can be no place for disorderly conduct in the House, except in ‘gross disorder’,” he said, adding that “such conduct must be dealt with strictly to ensure the orderly functioning of the House”. But, that action should be constitutional, legal, rational and in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

The 12 suspended members are Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkalkar, Parag Alwani, Harish Pimple, Yogesh Sagar, Jaykumar Rawal, Narayan Kuche, Ram Satpute and Bunty Bhangadiya. He was suspended from the Assembly on July 5 last year for a year after the state government alleged that he misbehaved with the presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker’s chamber.