Action Against Gross Disorder

Raja Ram Pal v. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, (2007) 3 SCC 184 delineated principles. These principles have been restated in Amarinder Singh v. Special Committee, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, (2010) 6 SCC 113. It is open to demonstrate, ‘action’ of Legislature is manifestly arbitrary. As expounded in Amarinder Singh, important consideration for scrutinizing exercise of legislative privileges is whether same is necessary to safeguard integrity of legislative functions.

The expression ‘grossly disorderly’ has not been defined in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules. Taking totality of meaning of expressions ‘grossly’ and ‘disorderly’, it must follow, conduct of Member is such it was impeding smooth or orderly functioning of House and may also be of such nature as is likely to bring disrepute to House. Such conduct must be dealt with sternly. But, ‘action’ must be constitutional, legal, rational and as per procedure established by law.

Member represents Constituency from where he has been duly elected. Representative cannot be kept away from House in guise of ‘suspension’ beyond necessary (rational) period linked to ongoing Assembly Session, including timeline referred to in Article 190(4) of Constitution and Section 151A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951. A ‘suspension’ beyond Session has effect of creating a de facto vacancy though not a de jure vacancy. Suffice it to observe, ‘one-­year suspension’ is worse than ‘expulsion’, ‘disqualification’ or ‘resignation’ – insofar as right of Constituency to be represented before House/Assembly is concerned.

We have no hesitation in concluding, ‘impugned resolution’ suffers from vice of being unconstitutional, grossly illegal and irrational to extend period of ‘suspension’ beyond remainder of concerned ongoing Session. It is not a case of mere ‘procedural irregularity’ committed by Legislature within meaning of Article 212(1) of Constitution.

Hon’ble Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Ashish Shelar v. Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 797 of 2021].