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Indefinite suspension to have serious repercussions, SC says on action against AAP MP Raghav Chadha

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      31 October, 2023 01:48 PM      0 Comments
Indefinite suspension to have serious repercussions SC says on action against AAP MP Raghav Chadha

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said the indefinite suspension of a member of House would have serious repercussions on the constituency represented by him, particularly when he is from Opposition parties.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra told Attorney General R Venkataramani that the exclusion of a member of the Opposition from the House is a very serious matter, as he is representative of viewpoint which may not be consistent with the views of the government.

Maintaining that Parliament must have voices from across the spectrum, the bench said, "We are all subordinate to the Constitution wherever we are whosoever we are."

"The question is this a breach of privilege. He is the member of the Opposition. Exclusion of a member of the Opposition from the House is a very serious matter because he is the representative of his constituency. He is representative of a viewpoint which may not be consistent with the views of the government. Careful about not excluding those voices from the Parliament," the bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

Expressing its concern, the bench said, "We can understand if the privileges committee to decide it in 15 days or a month, and 75 days have gone. Winter session is coming and this member will be out."

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing Raghav Chadha, raised serious questions over the action against Chadha. He even said his client is willing to apologise before the court.

“We will put it, he is ready and willing to apologize to the House, will the chairman accept the apology and obviate the need for the Supreme Court to set the law straight. We will set the law straight, make no mistake about it. We are giving you an option,” the bench told the AG.

The court noted a resolution was passed by the House and Chairman's ruling came thereafter.

The AG said the court should not deal with the matter, while raising the question on maintainability of the writ petition.

The bench, however, pointed out the person who disrupts the House is excluded from the rest of the session.

"In this case, the alleged infraction is he did not verify the consent of the members for the select committee. Is this worse than that? Some proportionality is now an invented part of our jurisprudence,” the bench said.  

The bench also said that Rules 256 and 266 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States do not apply in the present case and further queried, if the inherent powers can be invoked to suspend a member indefinitely, and since there is no outer limit prescribed for the privileges committee to conclude its enquiry, would this mean that Chadha remains suspended indefinitely?

Dwivedi said his client has already apologised for the act and expressed readiness to give a written apology to the Rajya Sabha chairperson as well but the process being followed is patently illegal and violative of the law and Constitution, and also violative of fundamental rights and conventions of the past and has dangerous consequences.

Referring to past incidents in Rajya Sabha, Dwivedi said whenever a member refused consent, that member was dropped from the committee and no punitive action was ever taken against the member who proposed the name.

The AG emphasised that the resolution was passed by the House and the chairperson was only acting on it.

He questioned the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interfere with the exercise of privileges by the House. He said to test the rules of the house on administrative principles would be outside the purview of the court.

Venkatramani said Chadha’s comments to the press also lowered the di…
[11:22 AM, 10/31/2023] Jhanak Mam: SC orders Maha Speaker to decide disqualification against Eknath Shinde, others by Dec 31

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to decide disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and others and pass final orders before December 31, 2023, saying the procedural wranglings should not be permitted to delay the proceedings under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law).

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also put a deadline of January 31, 2024 for deciding the pending disqualification petitions related to rebel Nationalist Congress Party MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and eight others.

The court passed its orders on petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar led NCP questioning inordinate delay in deciding the disqualification petitions.

The bench refused to grant more time to the Speaker, who cited ensuing Diwali vacations and Winter sessions of the Assembly in the matter.

On October 17, the court had asked the Speaker to fix a "realistic" time schedule to decide multiple disqualification petitions.

After hearing counsel for Shiv Sena UBT's Sunil Prabhu and NCP's Jayant Patil against the delay, the bench said, "We have repeatedly granted time to Speaker to complete proceedings under the Tenth Schedule, now an affidavit has been filed by the Maharashtra legislative secretariat. It says there are two groups of disqualification petitions - one of shiv sena and one of NCP. The affidavit says the secretariat will be closed during Diwali vacations and the winter session of assembly will be in Nagpur. We are of the view that procedural wranglings cannot lead to delay in decision of disqualification petitions."

The bench also referred to the Constitution bench judgment, which was delivered in May 2023, telling the Speaker to decide the matter within a reasonable time.



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