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BJP MLAs move Delhi HC over House action

Feb 20, 2024 06:02 AM IST

he court, however, noted that the issue was already pending before the Delhi Assembly’s privilege committee

Seven MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) approached the Delhi high court on Monday challenging their suspension from the Delhi Assembly for interrupting lieutenant governor’s (LG) VK Saxena’s address on the first day of the Budget session on February 15.

BJP MLAs move Delhi HC over House action
BJP MLAs move Delhi HC over House action

The court adjourned the MLAs’ petition for Tuesday saying that it would first decide on their plea seeking to participate in Assembly proceedings. The court, however, noted that the issue was already pending before the Delhi Assembly’s privilege committee.

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On February 15, seven BJP MLAs — Mohan Singh Bisht, Ajay Mahawar, OP Sharma, Abhay Verma, Anil Vajpayi, Jitender Mahajan and Vijender Gupta — interrupted LG Saxena’s address outlining the policies and work of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government, following which they were marshalled out of the House by speaker Ram Niwas Goel. On February 16, the Assembly referred the matter to its privileges committee and suspended the seven MLAs till the panel took a decision.

In their plea to the high court, the MLAs said that the act of suspension and referring the matter to the privileges committee was illegal and untenable. The plea asked the court to permit them to participate in the Assembly proceedings, saying that non-participation would result in non-representation of the constituencies to which they belong.

“The respondent (Delhi Legislative Assembly) does not have any power to pass a motion that resulted in the suspension of an elected MLA beyond the expiration of the immediate session of the legislative assembly. The petitioners belong to the BJP, the main opposition party in the Assembly. That the duties cast upon the speaker have not been exercised cautiously, carefully, and legally,” said the plea.

On Monday, the MLAs, appearing through senior advocates Jayant Mehta and Kirti Uppal, submitted that while the MLAs could be suspended for a period of three days, in this case, the suspension was indefinite and that they could not be punished for the same offence twice. “The privileges committee is hearing the matter and the punishment has already been given. You cannot have suspension for an indefinite period. I’m now being punished for the same offence twice,” Mehta said.

Considering Mehta’s submission, the bench of justice Subramonium Prasad expressed reservations in entertaining the petition during the pendency of the matter before the privileges committee. “Whether article 226 petition should be entertained before the privileges committee takes a call on the matter? If a person is so disorderly that in order to have peaceful conduct of the remaining portion to marshalled out, does that restrict the right of the privilege committee to impose a stricter punishment? Does it take away the right of the privilege committee? As far as interference under Article 226 is concerned, regarding the functioning of the house, the limitations are there,” justice Prasad said to Mehta.

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