Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar on Monday wrote to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly secretary saying that he would appear for a discussion on his suspension case from the state Assembly only in the House instead of appearing for a hearing in front of the Deputy Speaker.
Giving his arguments, Bhatkhalkar wrote, "No purpose would be served by the Deputy Speaker holding a hearing in as much as it is the House alone which is empowered to withdraw the impugned resolution by a further resolution." Therefore, Bhatkhalar pleaded to contest his case on merits before the House for an effective outcome.
The 12-BJP MLAs including Atul Bhatkhalkar were suspended for one year from the Assembly on July 5, 2021, for alleged misbehaviour.
The resolution was challenged before the Supreme Court through a Writ Petition and on December 14, the SC sought a response from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on the pleas filed by the MLAs. The SC further observed that the "matter be considered by the House appropriately".
Following this, all the 12 suspended MLAs filed separate representations before the House, urging that the period of suspension be "commuted".
"It is pertinent to submit that the Winter Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly was held from 22.12.2021 to 28.12.2021, however, no steps with regard to the said representations were taken despite the fact that all the representations were filed prior to the commencement of the Session", wrote Atul Bhatkhalkar on the Assembly not considering the MLA's plea in Winter Session.
The Deputy Speaker later decided to hold a hearing on Bhatkhalkar's plea on Monday, January 10 at Vidhan Bhavan to which he did not appear as he said he is COVID-19 positive.
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