Mumbai: In the wake of Supreme Court order quashing the suspension of 12 BJP legislators, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is exploring three options, including challenging the apex court judgment with a plea for its petition to be heard before a Constitution Bench; rejecting the order citing encroachment on the jurisdiction and powers of legislatures and continuing the suspension by bringing another motion in the upcoming winter session of the state legislature starting from December 28.
A section of MVA ministers has hinted that the confrontation between the judiciary and legislature on the issue of jurisdiction and powers looks inevitable.
A senior officer from the state legislature told The Free Press Journal, “Soon, senior ministers and presiding officers of the legislature will meet to discuss the issue and take a decision in this regard. The advocate general’s opinion will be sought for the state government to challenge the apex court’s order with a plea that it should be heard by a Constitution Bench. Prima facie it looks like the judiciary’s overreach in the legislature.
Today, it is Maharashtra but it may happen in case of legislatures of other states and also Parliament. It needs to be debated.” He explained that if the legislature accepts the apex court’s order, then it may become a precedent and therefore, a meeting of ministers and presiding officers with the legislature secretariat is being convened to discuss the future course of action.
The officer said the government and the legislature will also seek legal opinion on whether the court order can be rejected totally, citing judicial overreach.
Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav, who was in the chair when the suspension was announced, was more categorical in his response. He said the Supreme Court had interfered in the working of the state assembly. “We were not expecting that the Supreme Court would interfere in the working of a state assembly. The legislature and the judiciary are two of the four pillars of our democracy and none can interfere in the matters of the other. We expect that kind of democracy. But when a decision taken in the assembly has been revoked by the SC, this is going to affect the entire nation. Every assembly, Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha will be affected by the SC decision,” he noted. Jadhav argued that a clarification was needed, whether this was just for the Maharashtra assembly or all assemblies/Parliaments. “I don’t think it will be implemented. The Supreme Court has overruled the rights of a state assembly,” he observed.
Another officer from the state legislature recalled that Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Narhari Zirwal, had, on December 24 last year, asked the legislature secretary not to respond to the Supreme Court’s notice on the plea filed by the 12 BJP MLAs challenging their one-year suspension.