Resumption of intellectual debate in Parliament, Assemblies is the need of the hour: SC
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Resumption of intellectual debate in Parliament, Assemblies is the need of the hour: SC

January 30, 2022

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday said that Parliament and Assemblies are becoming insensitive places and to get out of such a hopeless situation, it was necessary to take corrective steps towards restoring the dignity and standard of intellectual debate of the highest order.

“It is high time that corrective steps are taken by all concerned and the elected representatives would do enough to restore the glory and the standard of the intellectual debates, which should be of the highest order, as have been chronicled of their predecessors,” said a Bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and also comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar.

The Court made these observations, while setting aside the indefinite suspension of 12 BJP MLAs from Maharashtra Assembly, after noting that such suspension could be only limited to the Monsoon Session 2021.

This was not a case of mere procedural irregularity committed by the Legislature, but of substantive illegality, noted the Bench, adding that Parliament or State Legislatures are not a place to create ruckus, but a place where policies and laws are enacted for the welfare of citizens. The Court said, “To become a world leader and self-reliant/ dependent, the quality of debate in the House should be of the highest standard. The debate should be directed towards the internal, constitutional and federal issues, being faced by the common man.”

The Top Court also made it clear that aggression during the debates has no place in the setting of a country governed by the Rule of Law. Even a complex issue needs to be resolved in a congenial atmosphere by observing collegiate and showing full respect and defence towards each other. This would also be violative of basic democratic values, allowing a coalition Government with a thin majority to manipulate numbers, it added.

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The Apex Court passed the order on a joint appeal filed by the 12 suspended BJP MLAs, led by Ashish Shelar. Calling the suspension unconstitutional and arbitrary, the Bench observed, “It is a drastic measure trenching upon imposing penalty more than disciplinary or corrective measure, beyond the limited inherent powers of the House.” The Bench said, “We have no hesitation in concluding that the resolution suffers from the vice of being unconstitutional, grossly illegal and irrational to the extent of period of suspension beyond the remainder of the concerned Session.”

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