New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday scrapped the indefinite suspension of 12 BJP MLAs from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for alleged disorderly behaviour in the House, calling it “unconstitutional and arbitrary”.
The Court held that the suspension could have only been for the ongoing Monsoon session (July, 2021) as the resolution to suspend the MLAs beyond the session is “unconstitutional”, “illegal” and “beyond the powers of the assembly”. It held that such suspension could be limited only to the ongoing session, which was the Monsoon Session of 2021, Live Law reported.
“We’ve no hesitation in allowing these petitions. The resolutions are malicious in the eyes of law, unconstitutional, illegal, and declared to be ineffective in law. As a result of the stated declaration, petitioners are declared to be entitled to be benefits of Members of Legislative Assembly”, the bench pronounced the operative portion of the order.
The 12 suspended BJP MLAs were Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkalkar, Parag Alavni, Harish Pimpale, Ram Satpute, Vijay Kumar Rawal, Yogesh Sagar, Narayan Kuche and Kirtikumar Bangdia.
During the hearing, the bench had orally observed that the suspension beyond a session was disproportionate and “worse than expulsion”. The bench had opined that such suspension, which exceeds the term of a session, will amount to a punishment of the constituency, as it remains unrepresented in the Assembly. The bench had also remarked that it can be “dangerous to democracy” as well, since it can result in the manipulation of majority in the house when voting on important matters arise.
The bench had pointed out that as per the relevant rules, the Assembly has no power to suspend a member beyond 60 days. In this regard, the bench referred to Article 190(4) of the Constitution which says that a seat will be deemed to have become vacant if a member remains absent in the House without its permission for a period of 60 days, as per reports.
Speaker Jadhav had then explained that when the House had been adjourned, Opposition leaders went to his cabin and abused him in front of the Leader of Opposition, Devendra Fadnavis, and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil.”
Reacting to the verdict, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the suspension was completely unconstitutional and a gross misuse of power to create an artificial majority.
Since the beginning, we were saying that it was completely unconstitutional & gross misuse of power to suspend our MLAs for such a long period to create artificial majority & that too for no valid reason & the Hon SC has upheld our stand.#12MLAs #Maharashtra #BJP
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) January 28, 2022
Notably, on July 5, 2021, Maharashtra assembly speaker in-chair, Bhaskar Jadhav, had suspended 12 BJP MLAs for a year for unruly behaviour amid a ruckus in the House.