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Friday, May 20, 2022

Will study if order encroaches on legislative sovereignty, says MVA govt

🔴 Former chief minister and BJP Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the SC judgment and said the verdict was a “tight slap on the face” of the MVA government.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: January 29, 2022 5:21:27 am
anil parab, Anil Parab summoned by ED, Anil Parab ED, Anil Parab calls for Rane's arrest, maharashtra cm, sanjay raut, uddhav thackeray, indian express, indian express newsShiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil Parab. (File)

THE MAHARASHTRA Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Friday hinted that the Supreme Court’s decision to quash the suspension of 12 BJP MLAs was a setback to legislative sovereignty and said it would chart its course of action after consultations with legal experts even as the BJP welcomed the apex court order. Former chief minister and BJP Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the SC judgment and said the verdict was a “tight slap on the face” of the MVA government.

“We will hold discussions with legal experts before deciding our course of action. Earlier too we had taken the opinion of legal luminaries from across the
country. The decision that was earlier taken was within the framework of the law. We will analyse and study the Supreme Court’s reasoning behind this order,” Anil Parab, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said.

MVA ministers said the government will also study whether the SC decision infringed on legislative sovereignty. “This decision does not pertain to Maharashtra alone but it has ramifications for legislative bodies, including Parliament and state legislative assemblies, across the country.The state legislature secretariat will study whether parliamentary sovereignty is supreme or whether powers of review of the judiciary are applicable on it. A final decision will be taken by the Maharashtra assembly Speaker,” Cabinet minister and senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said.

Parab also raised the issue of delay in the appointment of 12 members of the legislative council by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari inspite of a recommendation by the state council of ministers in November 2020. He said the SC order said that no legislative post should remain vacant for more than six months and questioned why the same rule is not being applied to the nomination of the 12 people to the legislative council through the Governor quota. “For the last one and a half years, we have been demanding that the Governor should appoint 12 MLAs to the Legislative Council. In this regard, even though the Bombay High Court has not given a direct order to the Governor, it has observed that these posts can not be kept vacant. Then, how can there be two different orders? On the one hand, if a decision has been taken in the case of 12 MLAs that the post cannot be left vacant for more than six months, then the same justice should be given to 12 MLAs of the Legislative Council. So this is double standards,” he added.

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Meanwhile, sources within the MVA said the government was looking at all legal avenues left with it before the suspension of the 12 MLAs was revoked. They said as the suspension was cleared by the assembly when it was in session, the revocation will also take place when the assembly meets for the coming Budget session in March.

“The preliminary reading of the SC order shows that it has said that the MLAs are entitled to their rights. But we have neither withdrawn nor suspended any rights except for restricting their entry to the House for their unruly behavior. And the state legislature has the power to suspend members. So, we will discuss the order with legal experts and then decide on it,” said a Cabinet minister, requesting anonymity. The minister added that any decision would be taken in the Budget session.

Experts said the SC order may lead to a confrontation between the state legislature and the judiciary as the SC can interfere in the matters of the state legislature only if any unconstitutional decision is taken. “For that, the legislature has to violate a provision of the Constitution. But it does not seem to be this case and can’t be called unconstitutional. The Constitution and rules of the assembly are silent on the duration of the suspension and the apex court seems to be reading between the lines of the provisions,” said a former secretary of the state legislature.

The secretary added that the assembly Speaker would have to take a cautious call on the issue. “The Speaker will have to ensure that the state legislature does not surrender to the judiciary. Also, if it decides to accept the SC order, then the people will start challenging the proceedings for any small things in the court. It will be detrimental for the functioning of the state legislature,” the secretary added.

Former Maharashtra chief minister and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the move and said the SC decision will protect the democratic values and it is yet another tight slap on the face of MVA government for its unconstitutional, unethical, unfair, illegal and undemocratic actions and activities. “I congratulate the 12 Maharashtra BJP MLAs for getting justice,” he added.

“Since the beginning, we were saying that it was completely unconstitutional and gross misuse of power to suspend our MLAs for such a long period to create artificial majority and that too, for no valid reason, and the honourable SC has upheld our stand,” he said

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