FPJ Legal: SC stays order on plea of Maharashtra BJP MLAs against one-year suspension from Assembly

It had said explicit outer limit as per the Constitution for an MLA to be absent from his seat is 60 days, after which the seat is deemed to be vacated.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 03:22 PM IST
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Supreme Court of India | Photo: Representative Image

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a plea of 12 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs from Maharashtra challenging their one-year suspension from the state Legislative Assembly for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer.

A Bench headed by Justices AM Khanwilkar reserved the order on the plea after hearing arguments from all the parties and asked them to file written submissions. On Tuesday, the apex court said suspension from Legislative Assembly for one year should be linked with some purpose and there has to be an "overpowering" reason that the member should not be allowed to even attend the next session.

Earlier, the Bench had observed that the resolution passed by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly suspending 12 BJP MLAs, is prima facie "unconstitutional" as such a suspension cannot operate beyond six months owing to a constitutional bar.

It had said explicit outer limit as per the Constitution for an MLA to be absent from his seat is 60 days, after which the seat is deemed to be vacated.

"How long can seat remain vacant? At the most six months, the outer limit can be there. Here we are talking about a constituency being represented in a parliamentary form of democracy? Is this not hitting the basic structure of the constitution when the 12 constituencies are unrepresented?" the Bench had asked.

"We can say that the decision to suspension can only operate till 6 months and later than that it will be hit by the constitutional bar," it had added.

The Bench had also taken exception to the arguments of senior advocate Aryama Sundaram Maharashtra Assembly that the House has absolute powers to frame its own rules including on period of suspension of its members.

To this, the Bench then said that even if the Assembly rules are read in consonance with the Constitution, the maximum bar could be for six months only.

It further opined that the decision of suspension is even worse than expelling them since no one can then represent the constituents of the suspended representatives in the Assembly.

12 BJP MLAs were suspended on July 5, 2021, from the Assembly for one year after the State government had accused them of "misbehaving" with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker's chamber. The motion to suspend these MLAs was moved by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab and passed by a voice vote.

On July 22 last year they had filed the plea in the top court challenging the resolution passed by the Assembly to suspend them for one year.

The 12 suspended members are- Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Parag Alavani, Harish Pimpale, Yogesh Sagar, Jay Kumar Rawat, Narayan Kuche, Ram Satpute and Bunty Bhangdia.

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