The Supreme Court of India today quashed the Maharashtra government’s decision to suspend the 12 BJP MLAs for a period of one year for alleged unruly behaviour inside the assembly during the monsoon session last year. The apex court termed the decision unconstitutional. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly had taken up the suspension resolution on July 5 last year.
The top court also termed the resolution as arbitrary and illegal while observing that it was beyond the power of the assembly. The court noted that such suspension should only be limited to the ongoing session. Citing the relevant rule, the court said that the assembly has no power to suspend a member beyond 60 days.
Hearing the case, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar said, “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.”
During the hearing, the bench had orally observed that the one-year suspension was ‘worse than expulsion’.
The Supreme Court also observed that such suspensions amount to punishment of the constituency as it remains unrepresented in the assembly. The bench had earlier said that such a move can be dangerous to democracy and can also lead to manipulation of the majority in the house while voting on important matters.
The top court also said that had there been a vacancy, an election have to be conducted while there is no election in case of suspension.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Senior Advocate Aryama Sundaram had argued that judicial review is not permissible over the proceedings inside the House.
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.