The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and others on the pleas filed by 12 BJP MLAs, who have challenged their one-year suspension from the Assembly for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar agreed to hear the batch of petitions and issued formal notices to the respondents, including the state of Maharashtra, seeking their responses on the pleas.
The apex court observed that issues raised in the matter and arguments advanced by the advocates appearing for the petitioners as well as the state are "debatable" and "require deeper consideration".
"As a result, we deem it appropriate to issue formal notice to the respondents, returnable on January 11, 2022," the bench said.
"Needless to observe that pendency of these petitions will not come in the way of the petitioners to explore the possibility of urging upon the House to reconsider the decision impugned in these writ petitions at least to the extent of reducing the term specified therein. That is a matter which can be considered by the House, if so advised," the top court said.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is slated to hold the Winter session of the state Assembly between December 22 and 28 in Mumbai.
These 12 BJP MLAs have filed petitions challenging the resolution passed by the Assembly to suspend them for one year.
They were suspended on July 5 from the Assembly after the state government had accused them of "misbehaving" with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker's chamber.
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.
The motion to suspend these MLAs was moved by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab and passed by a voice vote.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had termed the allegation as false, and said Jadhav's account of the incident was "one-sided".
"This is a false allegation and an attempt to reduce the numbers of opposition benches, because we exposed the government's falsehood on the OBC quota in local bodies," Fadnavis had said, adding that BJP members had not abused the presiding officer.
However, Jadhav had sought a probe into the allegation that some Shiv Sena members and he himself made uncharitable remarks, and said he was ready to face any punishment if it was proven true.
"Abusive words were directed at me. Some people are saying I made uncharitable remarks. Let there be a probe into it after checking the CCTV footage. If I have used any inappropriate language, I am ready to face any punishment," Jadhav had said.
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