Suspension Of MLAs:
The Supreme Court has set aside the one-year suspension of 12 BJP MLAs from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The Supreme Court held that suspension for a year was ‘unconstitutional, substantively illegal and irrational’.
- The MLAs were suspended for misbehaviour in the Assembly pertaining to disclosure of data regarding OBCs.
- The challenge to suspension relies mainly on grounds of denial of the principles of natural justice, and of violation of laid-down procedure.
- The 12 MLAs have said they were not given an opportunity to present their case, and that the suspension violated their fundamental right to equality before the law under Article 14 of the Constitution.
- Rule 53 of Maharashtra Assembly: It 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”.
Provisions for Suspension of a Member of Parliament
- Rules 373, 374, and 374A of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha provide for the withdrawal of a member whose conduct is “grossly disorderly”, and suspension of one who abuses the rules of the House or willfully obstructs its business.
- The maximum suspension as per these Rules is “for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less”.
- The maximum suspension for Rajya Sabha under Rules 255 and 256 also does not exceed the remainder of the session.
- Similar Rules also are in place for state legislative assemblies and councils which prescribe a maximum suspension not exceeding the remainder of the session.