The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the decision to suspend 12 BJP MLAs from the Maharashtra Assembly for one year. The top court termed the suspension order as unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary. The apex court in its judgment has said that the suspension cannot be for more than one session. Delivering the verdict on a writ petition filed by Ashish Shelar and other BJP MLAs from Maharashtra, a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar observed that the decision to suspend 12 BJP MLAs of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for one year on July 5, 2021, is illegal.
The bench said that the resolution in this regard was passed with a malafide intention. Therefore, the bench declared it ineffective. The top court had on January 19 reserved its verdict in the matter. The top court had heard the arguments of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, NK Kaul and senior advocate CA Sundaram for the Maharashtra government on behalf of the legislators.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court had remarked that suspending MLAs for one year would be dangerous for democracy as it would lead to the loss of representation from their constituencies. The court had said that the real issue is the rationality of the decision. It must be so for some purpose. There must be a valid and cogent reason behind the suspension for one year. The Supreme Court had said that the decision of suspension for one year was irrational as the constituency concerned was being denied representation for more than six months.
In July 2021, Bhaskar Jadhav, sitting on the speaker's seat of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, suspended 12 BJP MLAs who had created a ruckus in the House for unruly behaviour. Jadhav had then said that when the House was adjourned, the Leader of the Opposition came to his chamber and abused him in front of Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil.
Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkalkar, Parag Alavani, Harish Pimple, Ram Satpute, Vijay Kumar Rawal, Yogesh Sagar, Narayan Kuche, and Kirtikumar Bhangadiya are among the 12 BJP MLAs who have received relief as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling.
Reacting to the Supreme Court order, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said the speaker would take a final call on it after the assembly secretariat receives a copy of the verdict. This is not just a question of Maharashtra but a matter of Parliament and assemblies across the country.