New Delhi: The apex court of the country has come to the aid of the 12 suspended Maharashtra Members of Parliament after they had appealed their one-year suspension from the State Assembly. Declaring the suspension "unconstitutional" and "illegal", the court overturned the suspension in a victory for the Opposition.
The 12 MLAs — 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 — were suspended on July 5, 2021, after the state government accused them of "misbehaving" with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker's chamber.
Maharashtra Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis hailed the verdict as a question, not just of 12 MLAs but of 50 lakh people in 12 constituencies.
"Since the beginning, we were saying that it was completely unconstitutional & gross misuse of power to suspend our MLAs for such a long period to create artificial majority & that too for no valid reason & the Hon SC has upheld our stand," Fadnavis tweeted.
"This decision will save the democratic values & it is a yet another tight slap on the face of MVA Govt for it's unconstitutional, unethical, unfair, illegal & undemocratic actions & activities," he added.
The SC had noted earlier this week that constitutional provisions do not allow a constituency to be vacant for more than six months thereby requiring Election Commission to hold elections, saying suspensions beyond this period is "irrational and unconstitutional".
It was best to restrict suspensions to ongoing sessions of the assembly and not beyond that, the apex court had said.
Recently, the Rajya Sabha had suspended 12 opposition MPs for the winter session for indiscipline committed during the monsoon session.The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
Members of the Opposition had staged walkouts and protests on the steps of the Parliament in response, terming the ban as unconstitutional and unfair.