SC panel to examine if House can suspend MLAs via resolution

SC panel to examine if House can suspend MLAs via resolution
The Supreme Court will examine if legislators can be suspended from the House by a resolution passed by a majority. A bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar on Tuesday issued notices on a plea filed by 12 Maharashtra MLAs, suspended for a year by the state assembly by a resolution carried by a voice vote.

Suspended MLAs 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 said though they apologised to the presiding officer over a fracas in the House, they were suspended summarily after a hearing. This was an attempt to reduce the number of Opposition MLAs in the House, they argued.

If this was allowed, it would undermine democracy in the long run, contended senior advocate Harish N Salve, who appeared for the BJP MLAs. In times of wafer-thin majorities, this can be used to increase the majority enjoyed by a political party in the House, he argued.

Incidentally, the Rajya Sabha has suspended for the whole of winter session 12 Opposition MPs for their conduct in the last session. The case could raise questions on the power of the judiciary to ‘interfere’ in what could be considered as the legislature’s domain.

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