Writ Petition Summary (MLA Suspension)Maharashtra MLA Suspension
Background and Issue
On July 5th 2021, a Minister of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly moved a resolution regarding the collection of empirical data on OBCs for the Municipal Elections. The Leader of the Opposition contested this resolution. The Chairman of the House did not allow the Leader of the Opposition to express his views. Subsequently, a ‘heated exchange’ took place between the Members of the Opposition and the members of the ruling party, which carried over to the Chamber of the Deputy Speaker.
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs moved a motion to suspend 12 MLAs from the Opposition. This was put to vote by the Speaker and passed. The MLAs were suspended for one year and restricted from entering the House. The suspended MLAs filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking that the resolution suspending them be invalidated.
What have the petitioners prayed for?
The suspended MLAs have asked the Court to:
- Set aside the resolution suspending the MLAs.
The arbitrary suspension violates the principles of natural justice
Under Rule 53 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, 1960, only the Speaker has the power to suspend MLAs indulging in unruly behavior. Therefore, the motion to suspend cannot be put to vote as this would allow the Government to suspend as many Members of Opposition as it sees fit.
The MLAs argue that the Speaker erred in putting the motion to vote and passed the resolution for suspension arbitrarily. This violates their right to a fair hearing under Article 14 of the Constitution of India, 1950, as well as the principles of natural justice. They also claim that the period of suspension was unfair and disproportionate to what occurred on the House floor and in the Deputy Speaker’s Chamber.