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SC quashes indefinite suspension of 12 BJP MLAs

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 31, Jan 2022
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The Supreme Court has set aside the Maharashtra Assembly’s decision to suspend 12 legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for a one-year period beginning July 5, 2021.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

  • Suspension beyond the remainder period of the session of the Assembly was ‘non-est’ in law, substantially unconstitutional and irrational.
  • The resolution, therefore, is illegal and was “beyond the powers of the assembly”.

Concerns expressed by the court:c

  • Suspension beyond the remainder of that session “would not only be a grossly irrational measure”, but also lead to these leaders’ constituencies remaining unrepresented in the assembly.
  • It would also impact the democratic setup as a whole by permitting the thin majority government (coalition government) of the day to manipulate the numbers of the opposition party in the house in an undemocratic manner.
  • Such a move would “not be healthy for democracy as a whole” as “the opposition will not be able to effectively participate in the discussion/debate in the house owing to the constant fear of its members being suspended for a longer period”.

What next?

The MLAs will now be entitled to all consequential benefits after the conclusion of the session in July, last year.

What’s the issue?

The legislators were suspended for a year for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer in the Assembly.

Procedure to be followed for suspension of MLAs:

Under Rule 53 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, the power to suspend can only be exercised by the Speaker, and it cannot be put to vote in a resolution.

  • Rule 53 states that the “Speaker may direct any member who refuses to obey his decision, or whose conduct is, in his opinion, grossly disorderly, to withdraw immediately from the Assembly”.
  • The member must “absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting”.
  • Should any member be ordered to withdraw for a second time in the same session, the Speaker may direct the member to absent himself “for any period not longer than the remainder of the Session”.