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HC sets aside suspension of seven BJP MLAs from Delhi Assembly

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HC sets aside suspension of seven BJP MLAs from Delhi Assembly

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The High Court on Wednesday set aside Delhi Legislative Assembly’s order suspending seven BJP MLAs for interrupting Lt. Governor V.K. Saxena’s address at the start of the Budget session.

Justice Subramonium Prasad pronounced the order on petitions by BJP MLAs Mohan Singh Bisht, Ajay Mahawar, O.P. Sharma, Abhay Verma, Anil Vajpayi, Jitender Mahajan, and Vijender Gupta, after having it reserved on February 27.

Seven of them had moved the high court challenging their suspension for the remainder of the Budget Session of the Assembly, saying it was maliciously engineered to disable the opposition members from participating in the discussions.

On February 23, the Assembly authorities had assured the court that the suspension was not meant to suppress dissent but was a measure of self-discipline in response to misconduct.

It had promised to expedite the privileges committee’s proceedings since on February 22 the court had asked the Delhi Assembly’s Privileges Committee to put on hold its proceedings against the MLAs.

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Since the court was hearing the matter on merit, the judge had said that the Committee should not continue with the proceedings.

“Since I have started hearing today, the Privileges Committee should not continue. All further proceedings must be kept in abeyance,” Justice Prasad had said orally to senior counsel appearing for the Assembly. The court had observed that their suspension was resulting in their constituencies going unrepresented in the House. Earlier, Justice Prasad had also asked the MLAs to meet the Assembly Speaker after Lt. Governor accepted their apology.

The members were suspended for allegedly interrupting the Lt. Governor’s address, highlighting the AAP government’s achievements on February 15.

Senior advocate Jayant Mehta for MLAs had, on February 19, argued that the suspension was unconstitutional and contrary to rules, affecting their right to participate in proceedings.

“This was maliciously engineered to disable the opposition members to participate in the discussions on crucial businesses that were to be discussed and to also exclude them, albeit unconstitutionally, from participating in the Budget Session of the House,” their plea said, adding the move was grossly unconstitutional and even contrary to Rules of Business of the House.

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Mehta had said that the motion to suspend them was excessive, advocating a maximum three-day suspension instead of an indefinite one.

AAP MLA Dilip Pandey had initiated the resolution for suspension in the House, which Speaker Ram Niwas Goel accepted. The matter was also forwarded to the Privileges Committee. The suspended MLAs, except Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, were barred from Assembly proceedings until the committee’s report was received.

–IANS

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