ASHISH SHELAR vs MAHARASHTRA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

ASHISH SHELAR vs MAHARASHTRA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY - Supreme Court Case 2022 - 

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.797 OF 2021
ASHISH SHELAR & ORS.  ...PETITIONERS
VERSUS
THE MAHARASHTRA LEGISLATIVE
ASSEMBLY & ANR.     …RESPONDENTS
WITH
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.807 OF 2021
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.800 OF 2021
AND
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.808 OF 2021
JUDGMENT
A.M. KHANWILKAR, J.
1. The petitioners have been duly elected as members of the
current Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (2019­2024).  They
got   elected   from   different   constituencies   in   the   State   of
Maharashtra.   They belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party1
,
the principal Opposition Party in the Maharashtra Legislative
1 for short, “BJP”
2
Assembly.  The Ruling Party is a coalition between the Shiv
Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian
National Congress (INC) christened as “Maha Vikas Aghadi”.
2. This  lis  emanates from the events as unfolded during the
Monsoon Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on
5.7.2021.   The proceedings of the House witnessed heated
exchanges between the members of the Opposition Party and
the Ruling Party due to an impression formed by the former
that   the   business   of   the   House   was   being   conducted   in
unilateral manner, with conscious and engineered effort to
suppress voice of the Opposition Party.   In that, even the
Leader of Opposition was denied an opportunity to speak on a
crucial motion under consideration.  At the relevant time, the
House was presided over by the Chairman nominated under
Rule 8 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules2
, who
according   to   the   petitioners,   denied   opportunity   to   the
Opposition   Party   to   speak   including   to   the   Leader   of
Opposition.
2 for short, “Rules” 
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3. It is alleged that in the meeting of the Business Advisory
Committee,   which   preceded   the   actual   Assembly   Session,
there was a concerted effort on behalf of the members of the
Ruling Party to cut short the Assembly Session for a period of
two days especially when the State was facing unprecedented
situation   owing   to   pandemic,   which   needed   elaborate
deliberation in the House.  The concerted effort was to strip of
all legislative tools available to the Opposition Party so as to
make sure that voice of opposition is muffled and suppressed.
4. The Chair of the Speaker of the House was vacant at the
relevant time due to stepping down by the incumbent.  The
election for appointing a new Speaker of the Assembly was yet
to be conducted.   As per Rule 8 of the Rules, in such a
situation   other   nominated   member   of   the   House   had   to
preside   on   5.7.2021.     As   aforesaid,   a   general   feeling   had
developed amongst the members of the Opposition Party that
the   business   of   the   House   was   not   being   transacted   in
congenial   manner   and   they   were   prevented   from   raising
important questions and express their views on matters of
public importance.  To wit, when the Minister was moving a
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resolution in relation to the empirical data pertaining to OBC,
the   Leader   of   Opposition   wanted   to   object   to   the   same.
However, he was denied that opportunity.  That eventually led
to heated exchanges between the members of both sides and
consequently, the House was adjourned.  
5. Thereafter, some of the members of the Opposition went to
meet the Deputy Speaker in his chamber to vent out their
grievance   regarding   the   unfair   manner   of   conducting
proceedings by the nominated Chairman.  At that time, some
members of the Ruling Party (Shiv Sena) arrived and engaged
in   heated   exchanges.     When   the   House   resumed,   the
nominated Chairman referred to the fact that some members
of the Shiv Sena were present in the chamber and involved in
heated  exchanges, but  no  action was  being taken  against
them   as   both   the   sections   had   apologised   to   each   other.
According to the petitioners, when the House resumed, by
way of courtesy a sincere apology was graciously tendered by
the   Leader   of   Opposition   to   the   Chairman   for   the   earlier
incident while adverting to the fact that none of the MLAs
belonging   to   the   Opposition   Party   (BJP)   including   the
5
petitioners   herein   had   abused   the   Chairman.     Soon
thereafter, to the utter surprise of the petitioners (and other
members   of   the   Opposition   Parties),   the   Minister   for
Parliamentary Affairs moved a resolution for initiating action
against 12 MLAs of the BJP for having committed contempt of
the House.   That motion was tabled in the House and the
Chairman was called upon to do the needful.  The Chairman
then called upon the House to pass the said resolution.  The
House in turn passed that resolution by majority votes after it
was put to vote at 14:40 hours on 5.7.2021.  The same reads
thus:
“P.H.: Contempt of the House by objectionable behavior
M.H.:   Resolution   of   Minister   for   Parliamentary   Affairs
regarding suspension of M.L.A.s for Contempt of
the House due to objectionable behavior.
1) Dr. Sanjay Kute,
2) Adv. Ashish Shelar,
3) Shri Abhimanyu Pawar
4) Shri Girish Mahajan
5) Shri Atul Bhatkhalkar
6) Adv. Parag Alavani,
7) Shri Harish Pimple
8) Shri Ram Satpute,
9) Shri Jaikumar Rawal,
10) Shri Yogesh Sagar,
11) Shri Narayan Kuche,
12) Shri Kritikumar @ Bunty Bhangdiya, M.L.A.
6
Adv.  Anil  Parab  (Minister  for  Parliamentary Affairs):
Hon’ble   Speaker,   I   wish   to   move   the   following
resolution with your kind permission.
“On 5th July 2021 when the business of the House was
being conducted, Hon’ble M.L.As Dr. Sanjay Kute, Adv.
Ashish Shelar, Sarvashree Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish
Mahajan,   Atul   Bhatkhalkar,   Adv.   Parag   Alvani,
Sarvashree   Harish   Pimple,   Ram   Satpute,   Jaikumar
Rawal, Yogesh Sagar, Narayan Kuche, Kirtikumar @
Bunty Bhangdia misbehaved in the House, addressed
the Chairman in the Speaker’s Chair unparliamentary
language, tried to take the mike and Rajdand, despite
repeated warnings, all these members misbehaved in
the   chamber   of   the   Hon’ble   Speaker   even   after   the
House was adjourned and abused and manhandled the
Chairman   in   the   Speaker’s   Chair.     Due   to   the
indisciplined   and   unbecoming   behavior   resulting   in
maligning the dignity of the House, this House resolves
to suspend the membership of Sarvashree Dr. Sanjay
Kute,   Adv.   Ashish   Shelar,   Sarvashree   Abhimanyu
Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Adv. Parag
Alvani,   Sarvashree   Harish   Pimple,   Ram   Satpute,
Jaikumar   Rawal,   Yogesh   Sagar,   Narayan   Kuche,
Kirtikumar @ Bunty Bhangdia for a period of one year.
Similarly, during the period of suspension they may be
restrained from entering into the premises of Vidhan
Bhawan at Mumbai and Nagpur.”
Hon’ble   Speaker,   I   request   the   House   to   pass   this
resolution.
Resolution has been tabled.
Chairman   in   the   Speaker’s   Chair:   Now   I   put   this
resolution to vote.
Resolution has been passed after putting it to vote.”
6. According   to   the   petitioners,   the   Leader   of   Opposition
thereafter   wrote   four   letters   to   the   Deputy   Speaker   on
7.7.2021 for furnishing relevant information including CCTV
7
footage, video recording of the entire proceedings and a copy
of the verbatim proceedings of the record of the Legislative
Assembly   dated   5.7.2021   and   6.7.2021.     Thereafter,   the
petitioners also sent letters to the Deputy Speaker requesting
him to furnish relevant material of the proceedings including
recording of the proceedings in the House dated 5.7.2021 and
6.7.2021.
7. Eventually,   on   22.7.2021,   the   petitioners   approached   this
Court by way of these writ petitions under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India, for issuing appropriate writ, order or
direction   so   as   to   quash   and   set   aside   the   impugned
resolution   dated   5.7.2021   passed   by   the   Maharashtra
Legislative Assembly being unconstitutional and grossly illegal
and   for   enforcement   of   their   fundamental   rights   as
guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
8. It is urged that the impugned resolution dated 5.7.2021 has
been passed in undue haste and is politically motivated.  It is
primarily intended to adversely impact the numbers of the
Opposition Party in the House.  It has been passed without
8
giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners much less
calling upon them to offer written explanation.   To buttress
this ground, reliance has been placed on a decision of twoJudge Bench of this Court in Alagaapuram R. Mohanraj &
Ors. vs. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly & Anr.3
.
9. It is urged that the events, as unfolded, on the face of it,
would   indicate   the   undue   haste   in   which   the   impugned
resolution came to be passed within a matter of hours, that
too, without granting opportunity to the petitioners to meet
the case against them.  This was grossly and patently violative
of Article 14 of the Constitution.  For, there was absolutely no
material before the Chairman or the Minister to substantiate
the need for suspending the petitioners, that too for such a
long period.
10. Further, even the impugned resolution dated 5.7.2021
does not refer to any material on the basis of which such
extreme step of suspension  had  been  taken  against  these
petitioners.  There is no indication in the resolution as to how
3 (2016) 6 SCC 82
9
the 12 members (petitioners herein) were identified from a
huge crowd of people and singled out for initiating the action
of suspension.  As a matter of fact, the impugned resolution
itself alludes to unruly behaviour on the floor of the House
and outside the chamber of the Speaker.  The video footage of
the alleged incident, which is in public domain, shows a large
crowd of people and there is absolutely no way of identifying
the 12 MLAs (petitioners herein) who have been suspended
and   singled   out.     As   a   matter   of   fact,   the   Minister   who
brought the motion was not even present in the chamber of
the   Speaker.     In   a   similar   situation,   this   Court   in
Alagaapuram R. Mohanraj4
 had to quash the resolution for
lack of evidence to identify the suspended members of the
Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
11. In the present case, the impugned resolution makes no
reference to any material much less video footage, etc., which
has   been   relied   upon   before   bringing   an   action   for
suspension.  Moreover, it is amply clear from the impugned
resolution   that   the   action   against   the   petitioners   was   for
4 supra at Footnote No.3
10
alleged unruly behaviour/misconduct and not for breach of
privilege that is covered by an independent dispensation.  As
regards suspension of a member of the House, as per Rule 53
of   the   Rules   such   action   could   be   initiated   “only”   by   the
Speaker after complying with the principles of natural justice
and fair play.  The provision, such as Rule 53, is engrafted to
put a check on the majoritarian attitude of the Government.
The Speaker is expected to act fairly, in particular during the
conduct   of   proceedings   in   the   House   towards   both   sides,
namely,   members   of   the   Ruling   Party   as   well   as   of   the
Opposition Party.   So to speak, he exercises quasi­judicial
function.
12. It is urged that a motion for unruly behaviour in the
House can never be a subject matter of voting since it would
enable the political party in power to virtually wipe out the
opposition for some trivial acts committed by their members,
by suspending as many members of the Opposition Party.
The   decision   of   suspension,   therefore,   must   rest   with   the
Speaker and not the House.   Notably, Rule 53 of the Rules
prescribes a maximum period of suspension not exceeding
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remainder   of   the   Sessions.     Thus,   suspension   of   the
petitioners for a period of one year is grossly unconstitutional
and illegal.  If the impugned resolution was allowed to prevail,
nothing   would   prevent   the   political   party   in   power   (in
majority) to resort to such mechanism and to suspend a large
number of members of Opposition Party upto five years or
remainder of the term of the Legislative Assembly by resorting
to voting in the House.
13. It is also urged that the erstwhile Speaker had stepped
down, as a result of which, he ceased to be the Chairman.  As
such, heated exchanges allegedly occurring between him and
the petitioners outside the House, would not invite action of
suspension, inasmuch as after stepping down as Speaker, he
would   continue   only   as   an   ordinary   MLA.     Further,   the
Chairman   nominated   under   Rule   8   of   the   Rules   is   not
empowered to exercise powers under Rule 53, considering the
fact that there was a Deputy Speaker of the House who could
have   discharged   the   functions   of   the   Speaker   after   his
stepping down or during his absence as per Article 180 of the
Constitution.   In that sense, the impugned resolution dated
12
5.7.2021 is nullity and  non est  in the eyes of law, having
passed without authority of law.
14. These writ petitions came up for preliminary hearing on
14.12.2021.  After hearing learned counsel for the petitioners
and   for   the   State   of   Maharashtra,   the   Court   passed   the
following order:
“We have heard learned counsel for the petitioners
and for the State of Maharashtra.
These   matters   involve   issues   of   moment   for   a
Westminster form of Democracy.
It   is   urged   by   the   petitioners   that   the   impugned
resolution by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly dated
05.07.2021 suffers from the vice of denial of opportunity
of being heard and adherence to the rules of natural
justice.
It is also urged that the resolution neither follows the
procedure prescribed under Rule 53 of the Maharashtra
Legislative   Assembly   Rules   (for   short   "The   Rules"),
namely, for suspension of member of the House by the
Speaker nor predicated in Part XVIII including Rule 273
to take action against the member for breach of privilege
of the House.
It is also urged that the power of Legislative Assembly
though absolute in certain respects, the decision reached
by the House can always be questioned on the settled
principles   amongst   others   being   manifestly   grossly
arbitrary or irrational, violating the fundamental rights
and   such   other   grounds,   as   may   be   permissible   and
delineated in the decision of the Constitution Bench of
this   Court   in   Raja   Rampal   Vs.   Hon'ble   Speaker,   Lok
Sabha & Ors. reported in (2007) 3 SCC 184, including
the two Judge decision of this Case in Alagaapuram R.
Mohan Raj & Ors. Vs. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly &
Anr. reported in (2016) 6 SCC 82. Further, for the nature
13
of impugned resolution, it not only abridges the rights of
as   many   as   twelve   members,   as   guaranteed   to   them
under Article 194 of the Constitution of India, but also of
the constituencies represented by each of them by merely
invoking the route of majority opinion of the House, an
unprecedented and unconventional move not backed by
any   similar   precedent.   In   any   case,   the   period   of
suspension of one year is unconscionable and manifestly
arbitrary and irrational.
On the other hand, it is urged by the learned counsel
for the State that Article 212(1) of the Constitution of
India makes it amply clear that it is not open to the Court
to explore the argument of proper procedure not followed
by the House. Further, it is not open to the Court to do
judicial   review   of   the   final   decision   on   the   basis   of
abstract arguments and grounds urged before this Court;
and even if a sui generis procedure has been adopted by
the House, it is the absolute prerogative of the House to
regulate its business.
It is also urged by the learned counsel for the State
that the petitioners have not refuted the case made out
against   them   about   misbehaviour   in   the   House   and
outside the House as well. Indeed, this plea has been
countered   by   learned   counsel   appearing   for   the
petitioners.
All   these   are   debatable   issues   and   would   require
deeper consideration.
As a result, we deem it appropriate to issue a formal
notice to the respondents, returnable on 11.01.2022. 
Mr.   Sachin   Patil,   Advocate   waives   notice   for
respondent No. 2­State.
Additionally, the petitioner is permitted to serve dasti
notice on the respondent No.1.
Needless to observe that pendency of these petitions
will not come in the way of the petitioners to explore the
possibility of urging upon the House to show leniency
and   reconsider   the   decision   impugned   in   these   writ
petitions, at least,  to the  extent  of reducing  the term
specified therein. That is a matter to be considered by the
House appropriately.”
14
By this order, the Court had expressed a sanguine hope that the
matter would get resolved in the ensuing Session scheduled in the
following week.  Presumably, no effective headway had been made
in that regard.
15. It appears that notice sent to respondent No.1, as per
office report, has been duly served.  We have been informed
by the learned counsel appearing for the State as well as the
petitioners that respondent No.1 would not be appearing in
the present proceedings.   The respondent­State, however, is
defending the impugned resolution by filing counter affidavit
dated 7.1.2022 sworn by         Mr. Satish Baban Waghole, In
Charge   Secretary,   Parliamentary   Affairs   Department.     The
reply   affidavit   amongst   others   points   out   that   the   issues
raised   by   the   petitioners   are   essentially   the   matters
concerning   procedure   in   the   House   of   the   Legislative
Assembly and at best regarding some procedural irregularities
committed during the proceedings.  That cannot be the basis
to invoke jurisdiction of this Court which is constricted by the
mandate of Article 212 of the Constitution, as it concerns the
15
powers and privileges of the House.  Thus, the petitioners are
not entitled for any relief under Article 32 of the Constitution.
16. It is urged that the suspension for unruly conduct in the
House   is   not   solely   referrable   to   Rule   53   of   the   Rules.
Whereas, it is open to the Legislature to depart from the Rules
and take a decision which could exceed the period prescribed
in the Rules.   The period of one year suspension cannot be
said to be arbitrary or disproportionate as such when the
Legislature has the prerogative to reprimand or admonish its
members, independent of the power of the Speaker of the
House to order withdrawal of members under the Rules.  The
House   has   the   power   to   take   suitable   action   against   its
members who transgress the limits laid down in Article 194(1)
of the Constitution, being its inherent power and it is not
open to the Judicature to have a second­guess approach in
that regard.
17. It is urged that from the averments in the writ petitions
itself, it is conceded that the Leader of Opposition had to
apologise for the unruly behaviour of the members of the
16
Opposition including that of the petitioners.  The petitioners
had   committed   acts   which   resulted   in   undermining   and
maligning the dignity of the House in the face of the House
and   for  which  reason,   the   House  decided  to  suspend  the
petitioners.     In   such   a   situation,   there   is   no   question   of
granting any opportunity of hearing or for furnishing written
explanation, being a case of contempt of the House on the
face   of   it   while   it   was   in   Session.     The   reply   affidavit
essentially rebuts the legal arguments of the petitioners and
reiterates the factual position emanating from the impugned
resolution   itself   and   urges   this   Court   to   dismiss   the   writ
petitions being devoid of merits.
Submissions ­ Petitioners:
18. The   petitioners   are   represented   by   Mr.   Mahesh
Jethmalani,  Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, Mr. Neeraj Kishan Kaul and
Mr. Siddharth Bhatnagar, learned senior counsel.  The sum
and substance of their submission is as follows.   First, the
impugned   resolution   passed   by   the   House   is   without
jurisdiction.   For, the power to suspend as per applicable
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Rules is bestowed “only” upon the Speaker of the House and
as the Office of the Speaker was vacant at the relevant time,
upon   the   Deputy   Speaker   as   per   Article   180   of   the
Constitution.  Further, the exercise of power by the Speaker is
a quasi­judicial decision which must, therefore, precede with
a   formal   inquiry,   opportunity   of   hearing   to   the   member
concerned and recording of satisfaction about the nature of
misdeeds committed by the member concerned amounting to
grossly   disorderly   conduct.     In   short,   the   House   had   no
jurisdiction to pass the impugned resolution much less the
manner   in   which   it   has   been   passed,   in   undue   haste.
Second, no known or prescribed procedure has been followed
to   order   withdrawal   of   the   members   from   the   Assembly.
Thus, a gross illegality has been committed by the House.
The House is bound to adhere to the Rules framed by it for
that   purpose   under   Article   208   of   the   Constitution.     The
applicable Rules provide for different dispensation.  The power
to order withdrawal of its member, is provided in Rule 53 and
regarding breach of its Privileges is governed by Part XVIII of
the Rules (vide Rules 273 to 289).  A 15 days’ notice regarding
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the motion introduced in the House is required to be given
under Part XII of the Rules being Rule 106 of the Rules.  None
of these have been followed in tabling of the subject motion
and in passing the impugned resolution.   Thus, it is not a
case   of   mere   procedural   irregularity,   but   of   being
unconstitutional,   grossly   illegal   and   irrational   resolution
adopted   by   the   House   including   the   direction   to   the
petitioners   to   withdraw   from   the  House   for   one   year   vide
impugned resolution.  Thirdly, there has been gross violation
of   principles   of   natural   justice.     In   that,   no   opportunity
whatsoever was afforded to the petitioners much less a formal
notice calling upon them to offer their explanation.  Had such
an opportunity been given, it would have been possible for the
petitioners   to   demonstrate   that   they   were   not   part   of   the
unruly mob which had indulged in activities amounting to
grossly disorderly conduct.
18.(a) It   is   also   urged   that   at   any   rate   the   impugned
resolution suspending the petitioners for a period of one year
cannot   be   countenanced   in   law   being   unconstitutional,
grossly illegal and irrational.  Inasmuch as, Rule 53 provides
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for   a   graded   approach   to   be   adopted   by   the   Speaker   for
ensuring   orderly   conduct   of   business   in   the   House   by
directing withdrawal of a member, who in his opinion, had or
was creating obstruction in that regard.  Inasmuch as, if it is
his first instance of such type, the Speaker could order his
withdrawal for the remainder of the day’s meeting.  In case of
repeat   misconduct   during   the   same   Session,   the   Speaker
could order withdrawal of such member for the remainder of
the Session.  Had it been a case of exercise of power under
Rule 53, the member so directed to be absent shall, during
the period of such absence, is deemed to be absent with the
permission of the Assembly within the meaning of clause (4)
of Article 190 of the Constitution.   However, the impugned
resolution makes no reference to this aspect at all.
18.(b) On the stated position taken by the respondents that the
power has been exercised by the House and is not ascribable
to Rule 53, but the inherent power of the House, even in that
case, the suspension of the member of the House cannot go
beyond   the   ongoing   Session.     Inasmuch   as,   excess   and
unnecessary period of suspension of the member from the
20
House is not only undesirable in the matter of democratic
values enunciated in the Constitution, but substantively or
grossly illegal and irrational, if not bordering on perversity.
For, longer period of suspension beyond the ongoing Session
would not only be unnecessary, but nearer to being arbitrary,
irrational and perverse.  Taking any other view would entail in
validating   grossly   illegal   and   irrational   resolution   of   the
House.     To   buttress   this   argument,   support   is   drawn
additionally   from   the   dispensation   predicated   in   the
concerned Standing Order of the United Kingdom regarding
the   Parliamentary   Procedure   as   well   as   extracts   from   Sir
Thomas   Erskine   May’s   Treatise   on   The   Law,   Privileges
Proceedings and Usage of Parliament.   It is urged that the
consequence of absence of suspended member of the House
beyond   sixty   days   would   entail   in   vacation   of   the   seat
occupied by him/her, as predicated in Article 190(4); and in
which case, in law, the concerned constitutional Authority
would be obliged to initiate process to fill in the vacant seat(s)
not later than six months from the date of such vacancy in
21
terms of Section 151A5
  of the Representation of the People
Act,   19516
.     This   is   essential   also   to   ensure   that   the
concerned constituency does not remain unrepresented in the
Legislative Assembly for more than six months owing to the
action against its duly elected representative by the House.
Had it been a case of expulsion, it would not have resulted in
punishment   either   to   the   concerned   member   or   the
constituency represented by him.  For, the member concerned
in that case could get re­elected to occupy the vacant seat not
later   than   six   months.     Thus   understood,   the   timeline   of
suspension   of   the   petitioners   prescribed   in   the   impugned
resolution is worst and operates as inflicting penalty upon the
petitioners as well as the constituency represented by them.
In other words, it is worse than expulsion of a member of the
House. 
5 151A. Time limit for filling vacancies referred to in sections 147, 149, 150 and 151.—
Notwithstanding anything contained in section 147, section 149, section 150 and section 151,
a bye­election for filling any vacancy referred to in any of the said sections shall be held within
a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy:
       Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if—
(a) the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than
one year; or 
(b)   the   Election   Commission   in   consultation   with   the   Central   Government
certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye­election within the said period.
6 for short, “1951 Act”
22
18.(c) In the present case, learned counsel contends that the
House  had   to   assemble   for  only   two   days   of   the   ongoing
Session.   The suspension, therefore, ideally could not have
been for a period more than the remainder of the Session in
terms of Rule 53 of the Rules.  Moreover, as the motion was
introduced in the House for initiating contempt, it ought to
have proceeded only under Part XVIII of the Rules by following
procedure   prescribed   therein   which   includes   giving
opportunity of hearing to the member before the Committee of
Privileges.   If it was to be regarded as an ordinary motion,
then the procedure under Rule 106 of the Rules would have
required 15 clear days’ notice.  Further, Rule 1107
 postulates
that the resolution if moved by the Minister, it should precede
with seven days’ notice.   Even this requirement had been
violated.  In either case, the impugned resolution suffers from
the vice of denial of principles of natural justice, besides being
arbitrary,   perfunctory   and   founded   on   unsubstantiated
allegations   against   the   petitioners.     To   buttress   this
7 110. Government   Resolutions.—  (1)   The   provisions   of   rule   106   shall   not   apply   to
resolutions of which notice is given by a Minister or the Advocate General.
(2) Seven days’ notice shall be necessary in respect of such resolutions
(emphasis supplied)
23
submission,   reliance   has   been   placed   on   the   dictum   in
Alagaapuram R. Mohanraj8
.  
18.(d) It  is   then   urged  that   at   any  rate   the  time  period   of
suspension as specified in the impugned resolution is manifestly
arbitrary and grossly disproportionate and excessive, besides being
grossly illegal and unconstitutional being hit by Articles 14 and 21
of the Constitution.  For, the impugned resolution entails in denial
of representation even to the concerned constituency for such a
long time, much less   beyond   the   period   specified   in   the
Constitution [Article 190(4)]   and   the   mandate   of   conducting
elections   not   later   than   six   months     from     the     date     of
vacancy     vide     Sections   150   and   151A   of   the   1951   Act.
Reliance  is  placed  on  Barton  vs.  Taylor9
, Sushanta  Kumar
Chand     &     Ors.     vs.     The     Speaker,     Orissa   Legislative
Assembly    and     Anr.10
,   M.S.M.     Sharma     vs.     Sri   Krishna
Sinha   &   Ors.11, Special   Reference   No.1   of   196412, Jagjit
Singh  vs.  State  of  Haryana  &                  Ors.13, Raja Ram
8 supra at Footnote No.3 (paras 38 to 42)
9 (1886) 11 AC 197
10 AIR 1973 Ori 111 (Division Bench)
11 AIR 1959 SC 395 (5­Judge Bench) (paras 25,26,28 and 29)
12 AIR 1965 SC 745 (7­Judge Bench) (paras 31,32,35,36,39 to 41,56,60,61,124 and 125)
13 (2006) 11 SCC 1 (3­Judge Bench) (para 44)
24
Pal vs. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha & Ors.14  and Amarinder
Singh vs. Special Committee, Punjab Vidhan Sabha & Ors.15
.
18.(e) It was also argued that suspension of members beyond
the period specified in Rule 53 tantamounts to deviation from the
logic   stated   therein.     And   being   a   case   of   deviation   from   the
applicable Rules, it was essential to first suspend Rule 53.  That
could be done by way of a motion under Rule 5716.  Moreover, the
general powers of the Speaker have been constricted in terms of
Rule 5817, namely, limited to matters not specifically provided for in
the rules.
Submissions – Respondent (State of Maharashtra):
19. Mr.   C.   Aryama   Sundaram,   learned   senior   counsel
appearing for the State of Maharashtra, however, would urge
that   much   argument   of   the   petitioners   is   founded   on
untenable assumption that the Rules were binding on the
14 (2007) 3 SCC 184 (5­Judge Bench)
15 (2010) 6 SCC 113 (5­Judge Bench) (paras 47,62,64 and 65)
16 57. Suspension of rules.— Any member may, with the consent of the Speaker, move that
any rule may be suspended in its application to a particular motion before the House; and if
the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being.
17 58. General Powers of Speaker.— All matters not specifically provided for in these
rules and all questions relating to the detailed working of these rules shall be regulated in
such manner as the Speaker may, from time to time direct.
(emphasis supplied)
25
House; and it was not open to the House to proceed dehors
the rules formulated under Article 208 of the Constitution.
He submits that it is open to the Legislature to deviate from
the Rules, even if framed under Article 208.  Such rules are
only   akin   to   the   byelaws   of   the   society   which   are   not
enforceable   nor   can   it   be   regarded   as   statutory   rules.
Further, grounds of challenge set forth by the petitioners are
essentially questioning the procedure adopted by the House
in   adopting   the   impugned   resolution.     Such   a   challenge
cannot be maintained nor could be entertained by the Court
in light of bar under Article 212(1) in particular.   It is not
open to the Court to question the decision of the House on the
ground of irregularities in the procedure.  For, the House has
the prerogative to adopt its own procedure even  dehors  the
rules framed under Article 208.  In a given situation, the rules
being procedural rules can be deviated by the House, if the
need so arises.  The Court can only enquire into the question
as to whether the House had jurisdiction to adopt such a
resolution and no further.
26
19.(a) He further submits that it is cardinal that the powers
and privileges of the House of Legislatures as delineated in
Article 194 of the Constitution are non­justiciable, forming
part of Chapter III (the State Legislature) in Part VI of the
Constitution.     It   is   so   mandated   by   Article   212(1)   of   the
Constitution.   That gives enough room to the Legislature to
adopt its own procedure for upholding the privileges of the
House   of   Legislature   and   its   members   which   includes
proceeding   against   even   non­member   in   case   of   breach.
Thus,   it   is   not   open   to   even   remotely   suggest   that   the
Legislature lacks jurisdiction.
19.(b) He   submits   that   the   fact   that   Rule   53   of   the   Rules
provides   for   exercise   of   power   by   the   Speaker   to   order
withdrawal of member in graded manner, that does not and
cannot prevent the House from passing a resolution to even
expel   the  erring   member.   Thus,   the   House  can   certainly
direct   suspension   of   its   member   for   a   period   beyond   the
remainder   term   of   the   Session.     The   Legislature   while
adopting such resolution is not required to give any reason.
For, no judicial review of reasons which had weighed with the
27
Legislature to pass the resolution is permissible, unless it is
further shown that the resolution adopted by the House is
unconstitutional.  In the present case, the House had adopted
resolution which is self­eloquent.   In that, it mentions the
necessity for passing such a resolution of suspension of the
petitioners   for   a   term   of   one   year.     The   power   has   been
exercised by the Legislature, which is inherent in it especially
regarding   the   conduct   of   its   business.     The   impugned
resolution,   therefore,   is   not   unconstitutional.     He   would
submit   that   in   the   guise   of   asserting   that   the   impugned
resolution   is   irrational,   the   petitioners   in   effect   are
questioning the proportionality of the period of suspension.
This enquiry by the Court is impermissible.  For, the decision
of the House regarding quantum or the period of suspension
is non­justiciable
19.(c) He   vehemently   urged   that   this   Court   ought   not   to
venture   into   the   factual   matrix   and   have   a   second­guess
approach regarding the opinion expressed by the House in the
impugned resolution.   To buttress his submissions, he has
placed reliance on the decision of the Gujarat High Court in
28
Jagdishbhai   Thakore   &   Anr.   vs.   Chandrikaben
Chudasma   &   Ors.18,   which   follows   the   exposition   of   the
Division   Bench   of   the   same   High   Court   in  Chhabildas
Mehta,   M.L.A. vs. The   Legislative   Assembly,   Gujarat
State19.  He has also placed reliance on K.A. Mathialagan
vs. P. Srinivasan & Ors.20
, A.M. Paulraj vs. The Speaker,
Tamil   Nadu   Legislative   Assembly,  Madras  &   Anr.21
,  K.
Anbazhagan & Ors.  vs. The Secretary, The Tamil Nadu
Legislative   Assembly,  Madras  &   Ors.22,  V.C.   Chandhira
Kumar, Member of Legislative Assembly & Ors. vs. Tamil
Nadu Legislative Assembly, Secretariat & Anr.23, Special
Reference No.1 of 196424
,   Kihota Hollohon vs. Zachilhu
&  Ors.25
,  M.C.  Mehta  vs.  Union  of   India  &  Ors.25A
,  Raja
Ram Pal26 and Amarinder Singh27
.
18 2007 SCC OnLine Guj 402 (para 8): 2007 (48) 4 GLR 2998 (Single Judge Bench)
19 (1970) 11 GLR 729 (Division Bench) (paras 14 to 16)
20 AIR 1973 Madras 371 (Full Bench)
21 AIR 1986 Madras 248 (Full Bench)
22 1987 SCC OnLine Mad 89 (Division Bench) (paras 87 to 92, 101, 108 to 110 and 160)
23 2013 (6) CTC 506 (Division Bench) (paras 4.19 to 4.30)
24 supra at Footnote No.12 (paras 31,34,35 and 39 to 41)
25 AIR 1993 SC 412:1992 Supp (2) SCC 651 (5­Judge Bench) 
25A (1999) 6 SCC 237 (paras 18 to 21)
26 supra at Footnote No.14 (paras 125, 160 to 162, 163, 271 to 300, 451 to 453, 530, 531,
534, 536, 598 and 696 to 705)
27 supra at Footnote No.15 (paras 54 and 66)
29
20. He   would   further   submit   that   the   Maharashtra
Legislative   Assembly   even   in   the   past   on   more   than   one
occasion   had   passed   similar   resolution   to   suspend   its
member for one year period.  That is the legitimate inherent
power of the House in the matter of upholding its privilege.
Article 190(3) prescribes no limitation in this regard.  Further,
the invocation of Article 190(4) and Section 151A of the 1951
Act by the petitioners, is completely misplaced.  For, Article
190(4) has no application unless the absence of the member
concerned is voluntary and without permission of the House.
Article 190(4) cannot override the powers and privileges of the
Legislature endowed in Article 190(3).   Article 190(4) is an
enabling provision envisaging occurrence of vacancy only if
the Legislature so resolves/decides, unlike ipso facto vacancy
occurring in situations referred to in Article 190(1) to 190(3).
For issuing declaration under Article 190(4) that vacancy has
arisen,   it   ought   to   be   done   by   the   Legislature   if   such
recommendation is made by the Committee constituted under
Rule 229 of the Rules known as Committee on Absence of
Members from the Sittings of the House.  The functions of the
30
stated Committee are spelt out in Rule 230.  The procedure
noted in Rules 231 and 232 is clearly indicative of the fact
that   the   absence   of   the   member   must   be   voluntary   and
without   permission   of   the   House.     In   fact,   the   period   of
absence noted in Article 190(4) is sixty days28 of meetings and
not English calendar days.  In this case, only seven days of
meetings had been conducted so far.   Thus, invocation of
Article   190(4)   in   the   fact   situation   of   the   present   case   is
unavailable.  Further, in the case of absence of member from
the   House   owing   to   his/her   suspension   by   the   House
presupposes that the House itself has restricted the entry of
the concerned member during the meetings and it can be
safely   regarded   as   deemed   permission   of   the   House   for
absence for the relevant period.   Similarly, the constituency
cannot complain about its non­representation in the House
having   elected   someone   who   conducts   himself/herself
inappropriately in the meetings.  In Raja Ram Pal29, similar
plea   had   been   negatived.     Concededly,   suspended   elected
representative continues to represent the constituency from
28 Out of total 98­100 days in a year in three Sessions, namely, Budget, Monsoon and Winter
altogether.
29 supra at Footnote No.14
31
where he/she has been elected for all other purposes except
attending the meetings owing to suspension.  The argument
of   the   petitioners   is   more   fixed   on   the   basis   of   morality
approach.  That cannot be countenanced.  As a matter of law,
the House has inherent powers to direct suspension of its
member for one year period and there is no express bar or
restriction provided for by the Constitution or by virtue of any
statutory provision.  In substance, it is urged that the Court
cannot enquire into the grievances as made, essentially being
about the irregularity of procedure in adopting the impugned
resolution by the House.
21. We have heard learned counsel for the petitioners and
the   respondent­State.     As   aforesaid,   respondent   No.1   has
chosen not to appear despite service.
Consideration:
22. The moot question is about the maintainability of the
challenge in respect of the stated resolution adopted by the
Legislative Assembly.  The scope of interference by the Court
has   been   well­delineated   in   successive   decisions   of   the
32
Constitution Bench of this Court.  This Court has consistently
expounded   that  the   judicial   scrutiny   regarding  exercise  of
legislative privileges (including power to punish for contempt
of the House) is constricted and cannot be stricto sensu on the
touchstone of judicial review as generally understood in other
situations.   In that, there is complete immunity from judicial
review   in   matters   of   irregularity   of   procedure.     The
Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in  Raja   Ram   Pal30
delineated the principles on the basis of catena of decisions
noted in the said decision as follows:
“Summary  of  the  principles   relating  to  parameters
of   judicial   review   in   relation   to   exercise   of
parliamentary provisions
431. We   may   summarise   the   principles   that   can   be
culled out from the above discussion. They are:
(a) Parliament is a coordinate organ and its views do
deserve deference even while its acts are amenable to
judicial scrutiny;
(b)   The   constitutional  system   of   government   abhors
absolutism and it being the cardinal principle of our
Constitution that no one, howsoever lofty, can claim to
be   the   sole   judge   of   the   power   given   under   the
Constitution, mere coordinate constitutional status, or
even   the   status   of   an   exalted   constitutional
functionaries,   does   not   disentitle   this   Court   from
exercising its jurisdiction of judicial review of actions
which   partake   the   character   of   judicial   or   quasijudicial decision;
30 supra at Footnote No.14
33
(c) The expediency and necessity of exercise of power or
privilege by the legislature are for the determination of
the legislative authority and not for determination by
the courts;
(d) The judicial review of the manner of exercise of
power of contempt or privilege does not mean the said
jurisdiction is being usurped by the judicature;
(e) Having regard to the importance of the functions
discharged by the legislature under the Constitution
and the majesty and grandeur of its task, there would
always   be   an   initial   presumption   that   the   powers,
privileges,   etc.   have   been   regularly   and   reasonably
exercised, not violating the law or the constitutional
provisions, this presumption being a rebuttable one;
(f)   The   fact  that  Parliament   is   an   august  body  of
coordinate   constitutional  position  does  not  mean
that   there   can   be   no   judicially   manageable
standards to review exercise of its power;
(g)   While   the   area   of   powers,   privileges   and
immunities of the legislature being exceptional and
extraordinary   its   acts,   particularly   relating   to
exercise   thereof,   ought   not   to   be   tested   on   the
traditional   parameters   of   judicial   review   in   the
same manner as an ordinary administrative action
would be tested, and the Court would confine itself
to the acknowledged parameters of judicial review
and   within   the   judicially   discoverable   and
manageable   standards,   there   is   no   foundation   to
the   plea   that   a   legislative   body   cannot   be
attributed jurisdictional error;
(h) The judicature is not prevented from scrutinising
the validity of the action of the legislature trespassing
on the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens;
(i) The broad contention that the exercise of privileges
by   legislatures   cannot   be   decided   against   the
touchstone of fundamental rights or the constitutional
provisions is not correct;
34
(j) If a citizen, whether a non­Member or a Member of
the legislature, complains that his fundamental rights
under Article 20 or 21 had been contravened, it is the
duty of this Court to examine the merits of the said
contention,   especially   when   the   impugned   action
entails civil consequences;
(k) There is no basis to the claim of bar of exclusive
cognizance or absolute immunity to the parliamentary
proceedings in Article 105(3) of the Constitution;
(l)   The   manner   of   enforcement   of   privilege   by   the
legislature   can   result   in   judicial   scrutiny,   though
subject   to   the   restrictions   contained   in   the   other
constitutional provisions, for example Article 122 or
212;
(m) Article 122(1) and Article 212(1) displace the broad
doctrine of exclusive cognizance of the legislature in
England   of   exclusive   cognizance   of   internal
proceedings of the House rendering irrelevant the caselaw  that emanated from courts in that  jurisdiction;
inasmuch   as   the   same   has   no   application   to   the
system of governance provided by the Constitution of
India;
(n) Article 122(1) and Article 212(1) prohibit the validity
of any proceedings in legislature from being called in
question   in   a   court   merely   on   the   ground   of
irregularity of procedure;
(o) The truth or correctness of the material will not be
questioned by the court nor will it go into the adequacy
of the material or substitute its opinion for that of the
legislature;
(p) Ordinarily, the legislature, as a body, cannot be
accused of having acted for an extraneous purpose or
being actuated by caprice or mala fide intention, and
the court will not lightly presume abuse or misuse,
giving allowance for the fact that the legislature is the
best judge of such matters, but if in a given case, the
allegations   to  such   effect   are   made,   the   court   may
35
examine the validity of the said contention, the onus
on the person alleging being extremely heavy;
(q) The rules which the legislature has to make for
regulating   its   procedure   and   the   conduct   of   its
business have to be subject to the provisions of the
Constitution;
(r)   Mere   availability   of   the   Rules   of   Procedure   and
Conduct of Business, as made by the legislature in
exercise of enabling powers under the Constitution, is
never a guarantee that they have been duly followed;
(s)   The   proceedings   which   may   be   tainted   on
account   of   substantive   or   gross   illegality   or
unconstitutionality are not protected from judicial
scrutiny;
(t) Even if some of the material on which the action is
taken is found to be irrelevant, the court would still
not interfere so long as there is some relevant material
sustaining the action;
(u)   An   ouster   clause   attaching   finality   to   a
determination   does   ordinarily   oust   the   power   of
the court to review the decision but not on grounds
of lack of jurisdiction or it being a nullity for some
reason   such   as   gross   illegality,   irrationality,
violation   of   constitutional   mandate,   mala   fides,
non­compliance   with   rules   of   natural   justice   and
perversity.”
(emphasis supplied)
23. These principles have been restated by the subsequent
Constitution Bench in Amarinder Singh31, in paragraphs 53
and   54.     Further,   it   would   be   useful   to   advert   to   the
observations in paragraphs 87 and 88 of the same decision in
31 supra at Footnote No.15
36
the   context   of   the   concerns   about   the   intrusion   into   the
powers of the Legislature.  The same reads thus:
“Concerns   about   intrusion   into   the   executive   and
judicial domain
87. The   doctrine   of   separation   of   powers   is   an
inseparable   part   of   the   evolution   of   parliamentary
democracy   itself.   Renowned   French   philosopher
Montesquieu   had   drawn   the   attention   of   political
theorists to the dangers inherent in the concentration of
legislative, executive and judicial powers in one authority
and stressed on the necessity of checks and balances in
constitutional   governance.  Our   institutions   of
governance  have  been   intentionally   founded  on   the
principle   of   separation   of   powers   and   the
Constitution  does  not  give  unfettered  power  to  any
organ. All the three principal organs are expected to
work  in  harmony  and  in  consonance  with  the  spirit
and   essence   of   the   Constitution.   It   is   clear   that   a
legislative   body   is  not   entrusted  with   the  power   of
adjudicating  a  case  once  an  appropriate  forum   is  in
existence under the constitutional scheme.
88. It   would   be   pertinent   to   cite   the   following
observations made by M.H. Beg, J. (as His Lordship then
was) in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain32: (SCC p. 149,
para 392)
    “392. … One of these basic principles seems to me
to be that, just as courts are not constitutionally
competent   to   legislate   under   the   guise   of
interpretation, so also neither our Parliament nor
any State Legislature, in the purported exercise of
any   kind   of   law­making   power,   perform   an
essentially   judicial   function   by   virtually
withdrawing   a   particular   case,   pending   in   any
court, and taking upon itself the duty to decide it
by  an  application  of   law  or   its  own  standards  to
the facts of that case. This power must at least be
first   constitutionally   taken   away   from   the   court
concerned and vested in another authority before it
32 1975 Supp SCC 1
37
can be lawfully exercised by that other authority. It is
not   a   necessary   or   even   a   natural   incident   of   a
‘constituent power’. As Hans Kelsen points out, in his
‘General Theory of Law and the State’ (see p. 143),
while creation and annulment of all general norms,
whether   basic   or   not   so   basic,   is   essentially   a
legislative   function,   their   interpretation   and
application   to   findings   reached,   after   a   correct
ascertainment of facts involved in an individual case,
by   employing   the   judicial   technique,   is   really   a
judicial   function.  Neither   of   the   three
constitutionally   separate   organs   of   State   can,
according to the basic scheme of our Constitution
today,   leap   outside   the   boundaries   of   its   own
constitutionally   assigned   sphere   or   orbit   of
authority into that of the other. This is the logical
meaning   of   the   principle   of   supremacy   of   the
Constitution.””
(emphasis supplied)
24. To the same end, dictum of the Constitution Bench in
Sub­Committee   on   Judicial   Accountability   vs.   Union   of
India  &   Ors.33 may be apposite.   In paragraph 61 of the
reported decision, the Court observed thus:
“61. But   where,   as   in   this   country   and   unlike   in
England,   there   is   a   written   Constitution   which
constitutes the fundamental and in that sense a “higher
law” and acts as a limitation upon the legislature and
other   organs   of   the   State   as   grantees   under   the
Constitution,  the   usual   incidents   of   parliamentary
sovereignty do not obtain and the concept is one of
‘limited   government’.  Judicial   review   is,   indeed,   an
incident   of   and   flows   from   this   concept   of   the
fundamental and the higher law being the touchstone
of  the   limits  of  the  powers  of  the  various  organs  of
the State which derive power and authority under the
Constitution   and   that   the   judicial   wing   is   the
33 (1991) 4 SCC 699 (5­Judge Bench)
38
interpreter of the Constitution and, therefore, of the
limits   of   authority   of   the   different   organs   of   the
State. It is to be noted that the British Parliament with
the Crown is supreme and its powers are unlimited and
courts have no power of judicial review of legislation.”
(emphasis supplied)
The Court then noted that this doctrine is in one sense the doctrine
of ultra vires in the constitutional law and in a federal set up, the
judiciary becomes the guardian of the Constitution.  It enunciated
that   the   rule   in  Bradlaugh   vs.   Gossett34  was   inapplicable   to
proceedings   of   colonial   legislature   governed   by   the   written
Constitution.  In paragraph 66, the Court expounded as follows:
“66. The   principles   in Bradlaugh35 is   that   even   a
statutory   right   if   it   related   to   the   sphere   where
Parliament and not the courts had exclusive jurisdiction
would be a matter of the Parliament's own concern. But
the principle cannot be extended where the matter is
not  merely  one  of  procedure  but  of   substantive   law
concerning   matters   beyond   the   parliamentary
procedure.   Even   in   matters   of   procedure   the
constitutional   provisions   are   binding   as   the
legislations are enforceable. Of the interpretation of the
Constitution and as to what law is the courts have the
constitutional   duty   to   say   what   the   law   is.   The
question whether the motion has lapsed is a matter to be
pronounced   upon   the   basis   of   the   provisions   of   the
Constitution and the relevant laws. Indeed, the learned
Attorney General submitted that the question whether as
an   interpretation   of   the   constitutional   processes   and
laws, such a motion lapses or not is exclusively for the
courts to decide.”
(emphasis supplied)
34 (1884) 12 QBD 271: 50 LT 620
35 supra at Footnote No.34
39
25. In the Indian context, the power of the Legislature is not
absolute, as noted by the Constitution Bench in  Raja Ram
Pal36 in paragraph 398.  The same reads thus:
“398. We are of the view that the manner of exercise of
the  power   or  privilege   by  Parliament   is   immune  from
judicial scrutiny only to the extent indicated in Article
122(1), that is to say the court will decline to interfere if
the grievance brought before it is restricted to allegations
of   “irregularity   of   procedure”.  But   in   case   gross
illegality  or  violation  of   constitutional  provisions   is
shown, the judicial review will not be inhibited in any
manner by Article 122, or for that matter by Article
105.   If   one   was   to   accept   what   was   alleged   while
rescinding the resolution of expulsion by the Seventh Lok
Sabha with the conclusion that it was “inconsistent with
and violative of the well­accepted principles of the law of
parliamentary   privilege  and   the   basic   safeguards
assured   to   all   enshrined   in   the   Constitution”,   it
would be a partisan action in the name of exercise of
privilege. We are not going into this issue but citing the
incident as an illustration.”
(emphasis supplied)
After having said as above, the Court proceeded to examine the
extent of circumspection to be observed by the courts.  That had
been exposited in following words:
“414. In State   of   Rajasthan v. Union   of   India37 while
dealing with the issues arising out of communication by
the then Union Home Minister to the nine States asking
them to advise their respective Governors to observe the
36 supra at Footnote No.14
37 (1977) 3 SCC 592 : AIR 1977 SC 1361
40
Legislative Assemblies and therefore seek mandate from
the people, this Court observed in para 40 as under:
(SCC p. 616)
“40.  This   Court   has   never   abandoned   its
constitutional   function   as   the   final   judge   of
constitutionality   of   all   acts   purported   to   be   done
under the authority of the Constitution. It has not
refused to determine questions either of fact or of
law so long as it has found itself possessed of power
to do it and the cause of justice to be capable of
being   vindicated   by   its   actions.   But, it   cannot
assume   unto   itself   powers   the   Constitution   lodges
elsewhere   or   undertake   tasks   entrusted   by   the
Constitution to other departments of State which may
be better equipped to perform them. The scrupulously
discharged   duties   of   all   guardians   of   the
Constitution include the duty not to transgress the
limitations of their own constitutionally circumscribed
powers   by   trespassing   into   what   is   properly   the
domain of other constitutional organs. Questions of
political wisdom or executive policy only could not
be subjected to judicial control. No doubt executive
policy must also be subordinated to constitutionally
sanctioned   purposes.   It   has   its   sphere   and
limitations. But, so long as it operates within that
sphere,   its   operations   are   immune   from   judicial
interference. This is also a part of the doctrine of a
rough separation of powers under the supremacy of
the   Constitution   repeatedly   propounded   by   this
Court and to which the Court unswervingly adheres
even when its views differ or change on the correct
interpretation   of   a   particular   constitutional
provision.”
(emphasis supplied)
415. We reaffirm the said resolve and find no reason
why   in   the   facts   and   circumstances   at   hand   this
Court should take a different view so as to abandon
its   constitutional   functions   as   the   final   judge   of
constitutionality   of   all   acts   purported   to   be   done
under   the   authority   of   the   Constitution,   though   at
the same time refraining from transgressing into the
sphere that is properly the domain of Parliament.
41
416. Learned Additional Solicitor General submits that
in U.P.   Assembly   case   (Special   Reference   No.   1   of
1964)38 the Court had placed reliance on Articles 208 and
212 which contemplate that rules can be framed by the
legislature   subject   to   the   provisions   of   the
Constitution   which   in   turn   implies   that   such   rules
are   compliant   with   the   fundamental   rights
guaranteed  by  Part   III.  He  submits  that   if  the  rules
framed   under   Article   118   (which   corresponds   to
Article   208)   are   consistent   with   Part   III   of   the
Constitution  then  the  exercise  of  powers,  privileges
and   immunities   is   bound   to   be   a   fair   exercise   and
Parliament can be safely attributed such an intention.
417. While it is true that there is no challenge to the
Rules   of   Procedure   and   Conduct   of   Business   in   Lok
Sabha   and   the   Rules   of   Procedure   and   Conduct   of
Business in the Council of States, as made by the two
Houses   of   Parliament   in   exercise   of   enabling   powers
under Article 118(1), we are of the opinion that mere
availability   of   rules   is  never   a   guarantee   that   they
have been duly followed. What we are concerned with,
given   the   limits   prescribed   in   Article   122(1),   is   not
“irregularity   of   procedure”   but   illegalities   or
unconstitutionalities.”
(emphasis supplied in bolds)
26. From   the   exposition   in   these   successive   Constitution
Bench   decisions   referred   to   above,   it   is   not   possible   to
countenance the submission of the learned counsel for the
respondent­State that the enquiry must be limited to one of
the parameters specified in Raja Ram Pal39 and, in this case,
only clause (s) – “The proceedings which may be tainted on
38 supra at Footnote No.12
39 supra at Footnote No.14
42
account   of   substantive   or   gross   illegality   or
unconstitutionality are not protected from judicial scrutiny”.
On the other hand, we lean in favour of taking the view that
each of the parameters is significant and permissible area of
judicial   review   in   relation   to   exercise   of   parliamentary
privileges including clauses (f), (g), (s) and (u).  In one sense,
clause (u) is a comprehensive parameter articulated by the
Constitution Bench in Raja Ram Pal40, as it predicates that
“an  ouster clause attaching finality to a determination does
ordinarily oust the power of the court to review the decision
but not on grounds of lack of jurisdiction or it being a nullity
for some reason such as gross illegality, irrationality, violation
of constitutional mandate, mala fides, non­compliance with
rules of natural justice and perversity”. 
27. The   Constitution,   by   itself,   does   not   specify   the
limitation   on   the   privileges   of   the   Legislature,   but,
indubitably, those privileges are subject to the provisions of
the   Constitution   (as   is   predicated   in   the   opening   part   of
Article 194(1) as also in Article 208(1) requiring the House of
40 supra at Footnote No.14
43
the Legislature to make rules for regulating its procedure),
which ought to include the rights guaranteed to the citizens
under   Part   III   of   the   Constitution.     The   moment   it   is
demonstrated that it is a case of infraction of any of the rights
under   Para   III   of   the   Constitution   including   ascribable   to
Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, the exercise of power
by the Legislature would be rendered unconstitutional.   For
attracting Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, it is open to
the   petitioner   to   demonstrate   that   the   action   of   the
Legislature is manifestly arbitrary.  The arbitrariness can be
attributed to different aspects.  Applying that test, it could be
a case of irrationality of the resolution/decision of the House.
Indeed, in this case, the Court is not called upon to enquire
into the proportionality of such a resolution/decision.
28. There   is   marked   distinction   between   the   expression
“rational” and “proportional”.  The expression “proportion” is
derived from a latin word “proportio”  or “proportionalis”.   It
means corresponding in size or amount to something else.  To
wit, the punishment should be proportional to the crime —
whereas, expression “rational” is derived from a latin word
44
“ratio”  or  “rationalis”.   It means action is based on  or in
accordance with the reason or logic or so to say sensible or
logical.  The rationality of action can be tested, both on the
ground of power inhering in the Legislature and the exercise
of that power.  
29. Keeping the stated principles in mind, we must proceed
to analyse the grounds of challenge in these petitions.   The
foremost  ground   is   that   it   is   imperative  for  the   House  to
adhere to the procedure prescribed in the Rules framed by the
House under Article 208 of the Constitution.
30. The   Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in  M.S.M.
Sharma41 had occasion to deal with the efficacy of the rules
so   framed   under   Article   208   of   the   Constitution.     In
paragraph 2942, the Court noted that Article 194(3) read with
41 supra at Footnote No.11
42 (29) Seeing that the present proceedings have been initiated on a petition under Art. 32 of
the Constitution and as the petitioner may not be entitled, for reasons stated above, to avail
himself of Art. 19(1)(a) to support this application, learned advocate for the petitioner falls
back upon Art. 21 and contends that the proceedings before the Committee of Privileges
threaten to deprive him of personal liberty otherwise than in accordance with procedure
established by law. The Legislative Assembly claims that under Art. 194(3) it has all the
powers,   privileges   and   immunities   enjoyed   by   the   British   House   of   Commons   at   the
commencement of our Constitution. If it has those powers, privileges and immunities, then it
can certainly enforce the same, as the House of Commons can do. Article 194(3) confers on
the Legislative Assembly those powers, privileges and immunities and Art. 208 confers
power on it to frame rules. The Bihar Legislative Assembly has framed rules in exercise
45
rules framed under Article 208 had laid down the procedure
for enforcing its powers, privileges and immunities.  Further,
the   Legislative   Assembly   has   the   powers,   privileges   and
immunities of the House of Commons and if the petitioner is
deprived of his personal liberty as a result of the proceedings
before the Committee of Privileges, such deprivation will be in
accordance   with   procedure   established   by   law   and   the
petitioner   cannot   complain   of   the   breach,   actual   or
threatened, of his fundamental right under Article 21.  This
dictum presupposes that action taken under the rules framed
under   Article   208   of   the   Constitution   and   in   conformity
therewith is compliance of the procedure established by law
for the purpose of Article 21 of the Constitution.  
of its powers under that Article. It follows, therefore, that Art. 194(3) read with the rules
so   framed   has   laid   down   the   procedure   for   enforcing   its   powers,   privileges   and
immunities.   If,   therefore,   the   Legislative   Assembly   has   the   powers,   privileges   and
immunities of the House of Commons and if the petitioner is eventually deprived of his
personal liberty as a result of the proceedings before the Committee of Privileges, such
deprivation will be in accordance with procedure established by law and the petitioner
cannot complain of the breach, actual or threatened, of his Fundamental Right under
Art. 21.
(emphasis supplied)
46
31. In  Ratilal   Bhanji   Mithani   vs.   Asstt.   Collector   of
Customs, Bombay & Anr.43
, the Constitution Bench restated
the aforenoted position in the following words:
“…..   As   explained   in Pandit   Sharma’s   case44
,  these
powers and the procedure prescribed by the rules has
the sanction of enacted law and an order of committal
for   contempt   of   the   Assembly   is   according   to
procedure  established  by   law. Das, C.J., speaking for
four learned Judges said at page 861: “Art. 194(3) confers
on the Legislative Assembly those powers, privileges and
immunities and Art. 208 confers power on it to frame
rules. The Bihar Legislative Assembly has framed rules in
exercise   of   its   powers   under   that   Article.   It   follows,
therefore, that Art. 194(3) read with the rules so framed
has laid down the procedure for enforcing its powers,
privileges   and   immunities.   If,   therefore,   the   Legislative
Assembly has the powers, privileges and immunities of
the House of Commons and if the petitioner is eventually
deprived   of   his   personal   liberty   as   a   result   of   the
proceedings   before   the   Committee   of   Privileges,   such
deprivation   will   be   in   accordance   with   procedure
established by law and the petitioner cannot complain of
the breach, actual or threatened, of his fundamental right
under Art. 21.” Subba Rao, J. in his minority judgment in
that case and the Court in Special  Reference   No.  1 of
196445 did not say anything to the contrary on this point.”
(emphasis supplied)
32. It is settled law that even rules made to exercise the
powers   and   privileges   of   State   Legislature   constitute   law
within the meaning of Article 13.  This is exposited in Special
43 (1967) 3 SCR 926 (at p. 929)
44 supra at Footnote No.11
45 supra at Footnote No.12
47
Reference  No.1  of  196446
.   It is held that when the State
Legislatures   purport   to   exercise   this   power,   they   will
undoubtedly be acting under Article 246 read with Entry 39
of List II.  The enactment of such a law will, therefore, have to
be treated as a law within the meaning of                 Article
13.
33. In the backdrop of these observations, the plea taken by
the   State   that   the   rules   are   neither   statutory   rules   nor
binding   on   the   House   will   be   of   no   avail.     Indeed,   the
Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in  Sub­Committee   on
Judicial Accountability47 in paragraph 94 noted as follows:
“94. Second view is to be preferred. It enables the entire
process of removal being regulated by a law of Parliament
—   ensures   uniformity   and   reduces   chances   of
arbitrariness.  Article   118   is   a   general   provision
conferring on each House of Parliament the power to
make its own rules of procedure. These rules are not
binding on the House and can be altered by the House
at  any  time.  A  breach  of   such  rules  amounts   to  an
irregularity   and   is  not   subject   to   judicial   review   in
view of Article 122.”
(emphasis supplied)
46 supra at Footnote No.12
47 supra at Footnote No.33
48
These observations have been noted while deliberating over the
legal question as to whether the law made by the Parliament in the
matter of removal of a judge of the High Court ought to prevail over
the Rules framed by the House under Article 118 (corresponding to
Article 208, applicable to State Legislative Assembly).  This Court
held that the parliamentary law is of higher quality and efficacy
than the Rules under Article 118.  This, however, had not whittled
down the legal exposition that the Rules framed by the Legislative
Assembly under Article 208 of the Constitution is the procedure
established by law for the purpose of Article 21 of the Constitution.
34. Be that as it may, it is well­settled that the rules so
framed can be altered by the House at any time.   Until the
rules are altered, however, the House is ordinarily guided by
the procedure prescribed in the rules framed under Article
208 of the Constitution.  At the same time, proceedings inside
the Legislature cannot be called into question on the ground
that the same have not been carried on in accordance with
the rules of business as restated in Kihota Hollohon48
.  It is,
however, enough for the present to observe that the rules
48 supra at Footnote No.25 (para 42)
49
framed  under  Article  208 acquire  the  status  of  procedure
established   by   law   for   the   purpose   of   Article   21   of   the
Constitution   as   noticed   in  M.S.M.   Sharma49.     This
observation   has   been   quoted   with   approval   by   another
Constitution Bench again in  Raja  Ram  Pal50
, inter alia,  in
paragraphs 53, 167, 338, 416 and 417.
35. Viewed   thus,   even   though   the   Legislature   has   the
prerogative to deviate from the rules including to alter the
rules; until then, and even otherwise, it is expected to adhere
to the “express substantive stipulation” (which is not mere
procedure)   in   the   rules   framed   under   Article   208   of   the
Constitution   and   the   principle   underlying   therein,   being
procedure established by law.  
36. As   aforesaid,   the   dispensation   prescribed   under   the
Rules   to   exercise   power   to   order   withdrawal   of   member
(suspension) is ascribable to Rule 53 of the Rules which reads
thus:
“53. Power   to   order   withdrawal   of   member.—   The
Speaker may direct any member who refuses to obey his
49 supra at Footnote No.11
50 supra at Footnote No.14
50
decision, or whose  conduct  is, in his opinion,  grossly
disorderly, to withdraw immediately from the Assembly
and   any   member   so   ordered   to  withdraw   shall   do   so
forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder
of   the   day’s   meeting.   If   any   member   is   ordered   to
withdraw   a  second   time in   the   same   Session,   the
Speaker may direct the member to absent himself from
the meetings of the Assembly for any period not longer
than the remainder of the Session, and the member so
directed shall absent himself accordingly. The member so
directed to be absent shall, during the period of such
absence, be deemed to be absent with the permission of
the Assembly within the meaning of clause (4) of Article
190 of the Constitution.”
(emphasis supplied)
This Rule not only speaks about the procedure to be adopted for
passing the drastic order of withdrawal of a member from the
House but also about the substantive disciplinary or the rationality
of the self­security measure to be taken in a graded (objective
standard) manner.   The non­compliance of or deviation from the
former (procedure) may be non­justiciable.  However, in regard to
the substantive disciplinary or the rationality of the self­security
measure   inflicted   upon   the   erring   member,   is   open   to   judicial
review on the touchstone of being unconstitutional, grossly illegal
and irrational or arbitrary.
37. In terms of above Rule, the power is exercised by the
Speaker being a quasi­judicial order directing the member to
51
withdraw from the meetings of the Assembly.  The Speaker is
expected to exercise this power only in case of conduct of the
member being “grossly disorderly” and in a graded objective
manner.  The raison d’etre is to ensure that the business of
the House on the given day or the ongoing Session, as the
case may be, can be carried on in an orderly manner and
without any disruption owing to misconduct of one or more
members.  The expression used in the stated Rule is “grossly
disorderly”.
38. The expression “grossly disorderly” has not been defined
in the Rules.  The meaning of expression “gross” as given in
the Black’s Law Dictionary51 reads thus:
“gross,  adj.  (14c) 1.  Conspicuous by reason of size or
other attention­getting qualities; esp., obvious by reason
of   magnitude   <a   gross   Corinthian   column>.  2.
Undiminished by deduction; entire <gross profits>. 3. Not
specific or detailed; general <a gross estimate>. 4. Coarse
in   meaning   or   sense   <gross   slang>.  5.  Repulsive   in
behavior or appearance; sickening <a gross fellow with
gross habits>. 6. Beyond all reasonable measure; flagrant
<a gross injustice>.”
“Grossly”, is an adverb and indicative of relatively higher degree of
misconduct or so to say extremely wrong and deviant.  
51 11th Edition
52
39. The   expression   “disorder”   as   defined   in   Black’s   Law
Dictionary52 is as follows:
“disorder.  (1877)  1.  A   lack   of   proper   arrangement
<disorder of the files>.  2.  An irregularity <a disorder in
the proceedings>.  3.  A public disturbance; a riot.   See
CIVIL DISORDER. 4. A disturbance in mental or physical
health <an emotional disorder> <a liver disorder>.”
The expression “disorderly” as defined in Black’s Law Dictionary53
is as follows:
“Disorderly.   Contrary to the rules of good order and
behavior;   violative   of   the   public   peace   or   good   order;
turbulent, riotous, or indecent.”
In the Concise Oxford Dictionary54, the expression “disorderly” has
been defined thus:
“disorderly adj. 1 untidy; confused. 2 irregular; unruly;
riotous. 3 Law contrary to public order or morality.”
The   expression   “disorderly   conduct”   as   defined   in   Black’s   Law
Dictionary55 is as follows:
“disorderly conduct. See CONDUCT
Conduct,  n.  (15c) Personal behavior, whether by action
or inaction, verbal or nonverbal; the manner in which a
person behaves; collectively, a person’s deeds.  Conduct
does not include the actor’s natural death or a death that
52 11th Edition
53 6
th Edition
54 8
th Edition
55 11th Edition
53
results   from   behavior   consciously   engaged   in   but   not
reasonably expected to have this result. — conduct, vb.”
40. Taking   the   totality   of   the   meaning   of   expressions
“grossly” and “disorderly”, it must follow that the conduct of
the   member   is   such   that   it   was   impeding   the   smooth   or
orderly functioning of the House, and may also be of such a
nature that it is likely to bring disrepute to the House.  It may
involve varied situations and, therefore, implied exercise of
rational corrective mechanism is quintessential.  The action of
suspension or directing withdrawal of a member from the
meetings of the Assembly is in the nature of self­security and
is essentially directed  to  ensure  that  the  House can  then
protect   itself   against   obstruction,   or   disturbance   of   its
ongoing proceedings owing to the misconduct of any of its
members.  That power is different from the privilege to inflict
punishment on a member, which may require higher degree
of deprivation of the member over and above participating in
the proceedings of the House during the Session.  In a given
case, it can be in the form of expulsion being the highest
degree   of   exclusion   of   the   member   from   the   House.     Yet
54
another would be penal, in case of ordering imprisonment
owing to act of contempt of the House.  We shall elaborate on
this aspect a little later while dealing with the challenge on
the ground of impugned resolution being grossly irrational.
41. Suffice it to observe that Rule 53 of the Rules provides
for a graded (rational and objective standard) approach to be
adopted by the Speaker for ensuring orderly conduct of the
business of the House.   In the present case, however, the
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs introduced a motion in the
House for initiating action for contempt of the House, which
the Chairman allowed it to be put to vote instantly at 14:40
hours on the same day and it was passed by the House by
majority in no time.  Indeed, if it is a case of grossly disorderly
behaviour in the House, the Speaker/Chairman himself is
free to take instantaneous decision to order withdrawal of the
member   from   the   meetings   of   the   Assembly   during   the
remainder of the day’s meeting and if it is a case of repeat
misconduct in the same Session — for the remainder of the
Session.  
55
42. Concededly,   there   is   nothing   in   the   constitutional
scheme or the rules framed under Article 208 to prevent a
member   of   the   House   to   move   a   motion   for   directing
withdrawal   of   a   member   on   the   ground   of   his   grossly
disorderly conduct.   Further, if the Speaker can  suo motu
direct the member to withdraw from the Assembly on the
same   day   instantly   to   secure   smooth   functioning   of   the
proceedings, for the same logic, even the House could pass a
resolution itself on a motion being moved by a member of the
House instantly with the concurrence of the Speaker on such
a motion.
43. In   the   present   case,   the   Chairman   entertained   the
subject motion and called upon the House to vote thereon,
which had the effect of giving tacit consent if not explicit
concurrence to the same.   In that sense, it is not a case of
resolution passed by the House (to suspend its members) as
being without jurisdiction.  It is a different matter that if the
Speaker/Chairman was to do so, it could be only under Rule
53 in a graded manner for the remainder of the day and for
repeat misconduct in the same Session — for the remainder
56
of the Session.  That would be a logical and rational approach
consistent with the constitutional tenets.
44. If the House takes upon itself to discipline its members,
it is expected to adopt the same graded (rational and objective
standard) approach on the lines predicated in Rule 53.  That
would be a case of rational action taken by the House as per
the procedure established by law.  The expression “rational” is
defined in Black’s Law Dictionary56 as follows:
“rational, adj.  (14c)  1.  Endowed  with   the   faculties  of
cognition   traditionally   thought   to   distinguish   humans
from the brutes <man as a rational being>. 2. Based on
logic   rather   than   emotion;   attained   through   clear
thinking; not absurd, preposterous, foolish, or fanciful <a
rational conclusion>. 3. (Of a person) able to think clearly
and sensibly; clear­headed and right­minded <Jones was
rational at the time of the woman’s death>.”
As opposed to a rational decision, it would be a case of irrational or
preposterous approach.  The expression “irrational” as defined in
Black’s Law Dictionary57 is as follows:
“irrational, adj. (16c) Not guided by reason or by a fair
consideration of the facts <an irrational ruling>.   See
ARBITRARY.
arbitrary,  adj.  (15c)  1.  Depending   on   individual
discretion; of, relating to, or involving a determination
made   without   consideration   of   or   regard   for   facts,
circumstances,   fixed   rules,   or   procedures.  2.  (Of   a
56 11th Edition
57 11th Edition
57
judicial   decision)   founded   on   prejudice   or   preference
rather than on reason or fact.
 This   type   of   decision   is   often   termed  arbitrary   and
capricious. Cf. CAPRICIOUS. — arbitrariness, n.”
45. A  priori,  if the resolution passed by the House was to
provide for suspension beyond the period prescribed under
the stated Rule, it would be substantively illegal, irrational
and   unconstitutional.     In   that,   the   graded   (rational   and
objective standard) approach  predicated in Rule 53 is the
benchmark to be observed by the Speaker to enable him to
ensure smooth working of the House, without any obstruction
or impediment and for keeping the recalcitrant member away
from the House for a period maximum upto the remainder of
the entire Session.
46. Inflicting   suspension   for   a   period   “beyond   the   period
necessary” than to ensure smooth working/functioning of the
House during the Session “by itself”; and also, as per the
underlying   objective   standard   specified   in   Rule   53,
indubitably, suffer from the vice of being grossly irrational
measure   adopted   against   the   erring   member   and   also
substantively illegal and unconstitutional.
58
47. It is a different matter if the House had ended up with
resolution of expulsion of the member, which power in a given
situation it could legitimately exercise, as held in Raja Ram
Pal58
.    That   action   would   not   visit   the   member   with
disqualification and also allow him to get re­elected from the
same constituency within the statutory period of six months
from the date of vacation of his seat.  However, if it is a case
of   suspension   for   a   period   beyond   the   remainder   of   the
Session,   it   would   entail   in   unnecessary   (unessential)
deprivation.  And longer or excessive deprival would not only
be   regarded   as   irrational,   but   closer   to   or   bordering   on
perversity.  Resultantly, such an action would be violative of
procedure established by law and also manifestly arbitrary,
grossly irrational and illegal and violative of Articles 14 and
21 of the Constitution.
48. Be   it   noted   that   suspension   beyond   the   remainder
period   of   the   ongoing   Session   would   not   only   be   grossly
irrational   measure,   but   also   violative   of   basic   democratic
values   owing   to   unessential   deprivation   of   the   member
58 supra at Footnote No.14
59
concerned   and   more   importantly,   the   constituency   would
remain unrepresented in the Assembly.  It would also impact
the   democratic   setup   as   a   whole   by   permitting   the   thin
majority   Government   (coalition   Government)   of   the   day   to
manipulate the numbers of the Opposition Party in the House
in an undemocratic manner.   Not only that, the Opposition
will   not   be   able   to   effectively   participate   in   the
discussion/debate in the House owing to the constant fear of
its members being suspended for longer period.  There would
be no purposeful or meaningful debates but one in terrorem
and as per the whims of the majority.   That would not be
healthy for the democracy as a whole.  
49. It   is   well­established   that   fundamental   rights   are
guaranteed   by   Part   III   of   the   Constitution,   out   of   which
Articles 14, 19 and 21 are the most frequently invoked to test
the validity of the executive as well as legislative actions when
these actions are subjected to judicial scrutiny.   Different
Articles   in   the   Constitution   under   chapter   Fundamental
Rights and the Directive Principles in Part IV ought to be read
as   an   integral   and   incorporeal   whole   with   possible
60
overlapping with the subject matter of what is to be protected
by its various provisions particularly the fundamental rights.
The sweep of Article 21 is expansive enough to govern the
action   of  dismembering  a   member   from  the   House   of  the
Legislative Assembly in the form of expulsion or be it a case of
suspension by directing withdrawal from the meeting of the
Assembly for the remainder of the Session.
50. Be   that   as   it   may,   it   is   evident   from   the   impugned
resolution that it has been passed by the majority votes in the
House immediately after it was put to vote by the Chairman.
It was in fact introduced as a motion for initiating action for
having committed contempt of the House which ordinarily
ought to have proceeded under Part XVIII of the Rules dealing
with Privileges.   That would have required constitution of a
Committee of Privileges to enquire into the entire matter by
giving   opportunity   of   hearing   to   the   persons   concerned.
Instead of adopting that procedure, the House itself chose to
direct withdrawal of the petitioners from the meetings of the
Assembly for a period of one year — which direction is neither
61
ascribable to the dispensation prescribed in Part XVIII of the
Rules or Rule 53 enabling the Speaker to do so.
51. As   aforementioned,   it   is   not   a   case   of   procedural
irregularity as such.   Whereas, the decision taken by the
House in this case, is one of substantive illegality in directing
suspension beyond the period of remainder of the Session in
which the motion was presented.   We say so because, the
period of suspension in excess of the period essential to do so
much   less   in   a   graded   manner   including   on   principle
underlying   Rule   53,   would   be   antithesis   to   rational   or
objective standard approach for ensuring orderly functioning
of the House during the ongoing Session.
52. Reverting to the challenge to the impugned resolution
being grossly irrational.  As noticed earlier, Rule 53 provides
for a graded (rational and objective standard) approach.  The
timeline as specified in Rule 53 is with a view to address the
immediate concern of the House for ensuring orderly conduct
of the business of the House in the given Session.  This action
is implied on the doctrine of necessity.  The Speaker and for
62
that matter, even the House as a whole or by majority, would
be within its power to resort to such a mechanism being
rational   measure.     Exceeding   the   stated   timeline   is   a
substantive   matter   and   not   a   procedural   irregularity.     It
would raise a basic question as to what purpose would be
served   by   withdrawing   the   member   from   the   House   for
successive Sessions falling within that period of one year.
Indeed, if the conduct of the member is gross warranting his
removal from the Assembly even beyond the period of sixty
days [Article 190(4)] or six months (Section 151A of the 1951
Act), the House is capable of invoking its inherent power of
expulsion of such a member, which is a greater power.
53. Indubitably, suspension for a day or for the remainder of
the Session, would be of a lesser degree of exercise of that
power.   However, it is not open to contend that the higher
degree of power would include power to suspend the member
beyond the period essential to keep him/her away from the
Assembly for ensuring orderly conduct of the business of the
House.  As expounded in Amarinder Singh59, the important
59 supra at Footnote No.15 (paras 47 and 66)
63
consideration   for   scrutinising   the   exercise   of   legislative
privileges is whether the same is necessary to safeguard the
integrity   of   the   legislative   functions.     This   Court   had
recognised   that   the   Legislature’s   power   to   punish   for   its
contempt was not untrammelled.   That power of legislative
chamber to punish for its own contempt must coincide with
the   Legislature’s   interest   in   protecting   the   integrity   of   its
function. In other words, the suspension of a member must
be   preferred   as   a   short­term   or   a   temporary   measure   for
restoring order in the functioning of the concerned Assembly
Session for completing its scheduled business within time
and by way of disciplinary measure against the incorrigible
member(s).
54. The   word   “suspension”   is   necessarily   linked   to
attendance   of   the   member   in   the   House.     Thus,   the
suspension may be resorted to merely for ensuring orderly
conduct of the business of the House during the concerned
Session.     Anything   in   excess   of   that   would   be   irrational
suspension.   This is so because the member represents the
constituency from where he has been duly elected and longer
64
suspension would entail in deprivation of the constituency to
be represented in the House.  It is true that right to vote and
be represented is integral to our democratic process and it is
not an absolute right.  Indeed, the constituency cannot have
any   right   to   be   represented   by   a   disqualified   or   expelled
member.  However, their representative cannot be kept away
from   the   House   in   the   guise   of   suspension   beyond   the
necessary (rational) period linked to the ongoing Assembly
Session, including the timeline referred to in Article 190(4) of
the Constitution and Section 151A of the 1951 Act.
55. Be   that   as   it   may,   suspension   is   essentially   a
disciplinary measure.   It must follow that suspension for a
period of one year would assume the character of punitive
and punishment worse than expulsion.  For, suspension for
long period and beyond the Session has the effect of creating
a  de   facto  vacancy   though   not   a  de   jure  vacancy.     The
argument   of   the   State   that   despite   suspension   from   the
House, the members would continue to discharge all other
functions   outside   the   House   as   an   elected   representative.
This plea, in our view, is tenuous.   For, the effect of such
65
suspension is visited not only on the constituency that goes
unrepresented for potentially long and unessential time, but
also on the functioning of the Assembly itself.  Apart from a
role in bringing to light the special needs or difficulties of the
constituency, a member also plays a role in various motions,
debates, votes, etc.60.   In any case, this plea cannot whittle
down the logic requiring limited action essential for orderly
functioning of the House on the given day or at best, the
Session   for   completion   of   its   scheduled   business   for   the
relevant Session.  
56. Suffice it to observe that one­year suspension is worse
than “expulsion”, “disqualification” or “resignation” — insofar
as the right of the constituency to be represented before the
House/Assembly is concerned.   In that, long suspension is
60 Some of the functions of the elected representative in the House/Assembly (taken from the
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules) would indicate that the member would not be able to
take part in following matters, if suspended:
(a) Moving of a motion which requires decision by the Assembly, including by Division
(Rules 23, 40, 41); (b) Taking part in a debate on a motion including speeches (Rules 33,34);
(c) Asking Questions on Statements made by Ministers (Rule  47); (d) Making of personal
explanations (Rule 48); (e) Questions on matters of public concern from Ministers (Rule 68);
(f) Short Notice questions for immediate reply on questions of urgent nature (Rule  86); (g)
Private member bills (Rule 111); (h) Discussions on matters of sufficient public importance
(Rule 94);                                  (i) No confidence motions (Rule 95); (j) Adjournment motions
(Rule   97);   (k)   Participation   as   members   of   Committees,   including   the   Committee   for
consideration of matters of public importance, Business Advisory Committee, Public Accounts
Committee, Committee on Estimates, etc (Part XV of the Rules).
66
bound to affect the rights harsher than expulsion wherein a
mid­term election is held within the specified time in terms of
Section 151A of the 1951 Act, not later than six months.
Thus, the impugned resolution is unreasonable, irrational,
and arbitrary and liable to be set aside.  
57. Having said this, we may now turn to two decisions of
the   Privy   Council   referred   to   and   discussed   by   the
Constitution Bench in Raja Ram Pal61
, in paragraphs 284 to
293.  The same reads thus:
“284. Finally, in Barton62 it involved the suspension of a
Member   from   the   Legislative   Assembly   of   New   South
Wales. The power of suspension for an indefinite time was
held to be unavailable to the Legislative Assembly as it
was said to have trespassed into the punitive field. The
judgment was delivered by the Earl of Selborne. Referring
to Kielley63 and Doyle64 the Court observed:
“It results from those authorities that no powers of
that   kind  are incident   to or inherent   in a  Colonial
Legislative   Assembly   (without   express   grant),   except
‘such as are necessary to the existence of such a body,
and the proper exercise of the functions which it is
intended to execute’.
Powers   to   suspend   toties   quoties,   sitting   after
sitting, in case of repeated offences (and, if may be, till
submission   or   apology),   and also   to   expel   for
aggravated   or   persistent   misconduct,   appear   to   be
sufficient to meet even the extreme case of a Member
whose conduct is habitually obstructive or disorderly.
61 supra at Footnote No.14
62 supra at Footnote No.9
63 Edward Kielley vs. William Carson, (1842) 4 Moore PC 63 : 13 ER 225
64 Thomas William Doyle vs. George Charles Falconer, (1865­67) LR 1 PC 328 : 36 LJPC 33 :
15 WR 366
67
To  argue  that expulsion  is the  greater power, and
suspension   the   less,   and   that   the   greater   must
include   all   degrees   of   the   less,   seems   to   their
Lordships   fallacious. The   rights   of   constituents
ought not, in a question of this kind, to be left out
of   sight.   Those   rights   would   be   much   more
seriously   interfered   with   by   an   unnecessarily
prolonged   suspension   than   by   expulsion,   after
which a new election would immediately be held.”
(emphasis supplied)
285. The Court went on to examine what is necessary
and found that an indefinite suspension could never be
considered necessary.
286. The learned counsel for the petitioners have relied
on the above distinction and submitted that the limited
power does not envisage expulsion and can only be used
for ex facie contempts.
287. We   are   not   persuaded   to   subscribe   to   the
propositions advanced on behalf of the petitioners. Even if
we were to accept this distinction as applicable to the
Indian   Parliament,   in   our  opinion,   the   power   to   expel
would be available.
288. Firstly, Barton65  which   allows   only   a   limited
power to punish for contempt, finds that even though
the Legislative Assembly does not have the power to
indefinitely suspend, as  that  was  punitive   in  nature,
the   Assembly   would   have   the   power   to   expel,
considering expulsion a non­punitive power. Secondly,
the objection that the  limited power could only deal
with ex facie contempt, is not tenable.
289. In   the   above   context,   reference   may   be   made
to Harnett v. Crick66. This case involved the suspension
of a Member of the Legislative Assembly of New South
Wales until the verdict of the jury in the pending criminal
trial   against   the   Member   had   been   delivered.   The
65 supra at Footnote No.9
66 Lawrence Joseph Harnett vs. William Patrick Crick, 1908 AC 470 : 78 LJPC 38 : 99 LT 601
(PC)
68
suspension was challenged. When the matter came up
before the Privy Council, the respondents argued that:
“The Legislative Assembly had no inherent power to
pass [the Standing Order]. Its inherent powers were
limited to protective and defensive measures necessary
for the proper exercise of its functions and the conduct
of   its   business.   They   did   not   extend   to   punitive
measures in the absence of express statutory power in
that behalf, but only to protective measures. … The
fact   that   a   criminal   charge   is   pending   against   the
respondent does not affect or obstruct the course of
business   in   the   Chamber   or   relate   to   its   orderly
conduct.”
290. This argument was rejected and the House of Lords
allowed   the   appeal.   Lord   MacNaghten,   delivering   the
judgment, initially observed that:
“… no one would probably contend that the orderly
conduct   of   the   Assembly   would   be   disturbed   or
affected by the mere fact that a criminal charge is
pending against a Member of the House.” (475)
291. But he found that certain peculiar circumstances of
the case deserved to be given weight. The Court went on
to hold thus:
“If the House itself has taken the less favourable
view of the plaintiff's attitude [an insult and challenge
to   the   House], and   has   judged   that   the   occasion
justified   temporary   suspension,   not   by   way   of
punishment, but in self­defence, it seems impossible for
the Court to declare that the House was so wrong in its
judgment, and the Standing Order and the resolution
founded   upon   it   so   foreign   to   the   purpose
contemplated by the Act, that the proceedings must be
declared invalid.”(476)
(emphasis supplied)
292. The above case thus establishes that even if the
House of legislature has limited powers, such power is
not   only   restricted   to ex   facie contempts,   but   even
acts committed outside  the  House. It is  open  to the
Assembly to use its power for “protective” purposes,
and the acts that it can act upon are not only those
that are committed in the House, but upon anything
69
that   lowers   the   dignity   of   the   House.   Thus,   the
petitioners' submission that House only has the power to
remove   obstructions   during   its   proceedings   cannot   be
accepted.
293. It is axiomatic to state that expulsion is always in
respect of a Member. At the same time, it needs to be
borne in mind that a Member is part of the House due to
which his or her conduct always has a direct bearing
upon the perception of the House. Any legislative body
must   act   through   its   Members   and   the   connection
between the conduct of the Members and the perception
of the House is strong.  We,   therefore,   conclude   that
even   if   Parliament   had   only   the   limited   remedial
power   to   punish   for   contempt,   the   power   to   expel
would   be   well   within   the   limits   of   such   remedial
contempt power.”
(emphasis supplied in bolds)
The two decisions of the Privy Council (Barton67 and Lawrence
Joseph Harnett68) were pressed into service in that case to answer
the plea that the Legislature has inherent limited remedial power to
punish  for contempt by way of suspension of its member and
cannot resort to expulsion of the member.  The Constitution Bench
noticed   that   even   these   two   decisions   of   the   Privy   Council,
recognised inherent power of the Legislature to expel its member
and, thus, negatived the plea of the petitioner in that regard.  This
Court   after   analysing   the   said   decisions   concluded   that   the
Legislatures  established  in India  by  the Constitution, including
67 supra at Footnote No.9
68 supra at Footnote No.66
70
Parliament under Article 105(3), need not be denied the claim to
the power of expulsion arising out of remedial power of contempt.
58. What emerges from the stated conclusion is that the
Constitution Bench declared that the inherent power of the
Legislature  is  not   absolute,  but  limited  remedial  power to
punish   for   contempt   and   to   take   such   measures   as   are
necessary for orderly functioning of the proceedings of the
House.
59. The case of  Barton69 has been noticed in paragraph
284, which in turn had dealt with suspension of the member
from the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales.   In
that case, the resolution passed by the House did not mention
about the time frame of suspension of the member.  That was
challenged   by   the   aggrieved   member   being   irrational   and
unnecessary.  That plea was considered by the Privy Council
keeping in mind its earlier decisions in Edward Kielley70 and
Thomas   William   Doyle71.     (These   decisions   have   been
adverted to in paragraph 283 by the Constitution Bench as
69 supra at Footnote No.9
70 supra at Footnote No.63
71 supra at Footnote No.64 
71
well).   After noticing these decisions, the Privy Council in
Barton72 noted that those authorities had dealt with situation
that no powers of that kind are incident to or inherent in a
Colonial Legislative Assembly (without express grant), except
such as are necessary to the existence of such a body, and
the proper exercise of the functions which it is intended to
execute.
60. It must follow that in absence of any express provision
bestowing power in the Legislature to suspend its member(s)
beyond the term of the ongoing Session, the inherent power of
the Legislature can be invoked only to the extent necessary
and for proper exercise of the functions of the House at the
relevant point of time.  No more.  For that purpose, it could
resort to protective and self­defensive powers alone and not
punitive at all.   This logic is reinforced from the dictum in
Barton73 wherein the Privy Council noted as follows:
“…“If a member of a Colonial House of Assembly is guilty
of disorderly conduct in the House while sitting, he may
be removed or excluded for a time, or even expelled ….
The right to remove for self­security is one thing, the right
to inflict punishment is another …. If the good sense and
72 supra at Footnote No.9
73 supra at Footnote No.9
72
conduct of the members of Colonial Legislatures prove
insufficient to secure order and decency of debate, the law
would   sanction   the   use   of   that   degree   of   force   which
might be necessary to remove the person excluded from
the place of meeting, and to keep him excluded.””74
61. The Privy Council in the same decision then proceeded
to observe as follows:
“… The principle on which the implied power is given
confines it within the limits of what is required by the
assumed   necessity.   That   necessity   appears   to   their
Lordships   to   extend   as   far   as  the  whole  duration  of
the  particular  meeting  or  sitting  of  the  Assembly   in
the   course   of   which   the   offence   may   have   been
committed. It seems to be reasonably necessary that
some   substantial   interval   should   be   interposed
between   the   suspensory   resolution   and   the
resumption   of   his   place   in   the   Assembly   by   the
offender,   in   order   to   give   opportunity   for   the
subsidence of heat and passion, and for reflection on
his own conduct by the person suspended; nor would
anything   less   be   generally   sufficient   for   the
vindication   of   the   authority   and   dignity   of   the
Assembly. …”
(emphasis supplied)
These observations are significant and apposite in the context of
the issue under consideration.   And we must lean in favour of
adopting the same.   Inasmuch as this exposition recognises the
fact that implied or inherent power of the Legislature must be
reckoned to the extent only to what is required to be done by the
House for effective and orderly functioning of its business during
74 1 L.R, P.C. 340
73
the ongoing Session and not beyond.   This is more emphatically
expounded by the Privy Council in the following words:
“The power, therefore, of suspending a member guilty of
obstruction or disorderly conduct during the continuance
of any current sitting, is, in their Lordships' judgment,
reasonably   necessary   for   the   proper   exercise   of   the
functions of any Legislative Assembly of this kind; and it
may very well be, that the same doctrine of reasonable
necessity would authorize a suspension until submission
or apology by the offending member; which, if he were
refractory, might  cause it  to be prolonged (not by the
arbitrary discretion of the Assembly, but by his own wilful
default) for some further time. …”
Again, it went on to observe as follows:
“… If these are the limits of the inherent or implied power,
reasonably   deducible   from   the   principle   of   general
necessity, they have the advantage of drawing a simple
practical line between defensive and punitive action on
the   part   of   the   Assembly.  A   power   of   unconditional
suspension,   for   an   indefinite   time,   or   for   a   definite
time depending only on the irresponsible discretion of
the Assembly itself, is more than the necessity of selfdefence seems to require, and is dangerously liable, in
possible cases, to excess or abuse. …”
(emphasis supplied)
62. The essence of the analysis done in  Barton75 is about
the   logic   and   rationality   behind   the   need   to   suspend   a
member.   It unambiguously held that the same be regarded
as   temporary   by   way   of   self­protective   mechanism   of   the
Legislature to ensure orderly conduct of its business in the
House   during   the   sitting.     For   that   very   reason,   Rule   53
75 supra at Footnote No.9
74
provides for a graded corrective action, namely, on the first
occasion,   the   Speaker   may   suspend   the   member   for   the
remainder of the day and if the misbehaviour is repeated in
the same Session — for the remainder of the Session.   The
observations in Barton76 would reinforce this logic of need to
adhere to a graded approach, which reads thus:
“   …“Suspension”   must   be   temporary;   the   words,
“suspended   from   the   service   of   the   House,”   may   be
satisfied   by   referring   them   to   the   attendance   of   the
member in the House during that particular sitting. So
much   as   this   is   necessary   to  make   the   suspension
effective, more is not. …”
(emphasis supplied)
63. In light of this decision, it must follow that only a graded
approach is the essence of a rational and logical approach;
and only such action of the Legislature which is necessary for
orderly   conduct   of   its   scheduled   business   of   the   ongoing
Session can be regarded as rational approach.   Suspension
beyond the Session would be bordering on punishing not only
the   member   concerned,   but   also   inevitably   impact   the
legitimate rights of the constituency from where the member
had been elected.
76 supra at Footnote No.9
75
64. In the case of Lawrence Joseph Harnett77
, the question
was   about   the   challenge   to   the   Standing   Order   which
provided as follows:
“Whenever it shall have been ruled or decided (whether
before or after the approval of this Standing Order) that
the House may not proceed on a matter which has been
initiated in the House affecting the alleged misconduct of
a   Member,   because   thereby   the   said   member   may   be
prejudiced in a criminal trial then pending on charges
founded on such misconduct, the House may suspend
such member from the service of the House until the
verdict of the jury has been returned, or until it is further
ordered.”
This   Standing   Order   was   approved   by   the   Governor.     In   that
context, the Privy Council observed that it seems impossible for the
Court to declare that the House was so wrong in its judgment, and
the Standing Order and the resolution founded upon it so foreign
to   the   purpose   contemplated   by   the   Act,   so   as   to   declare   the
proceedings against the member invalid.  In other words, the Privy
Council was considering a written Standing Order and its efficacy.
65. In the present case, the House has already adopted the
Rules for conduct of its business and Rule 53 of the Rules
expressly provides for the mechanism regarding suspension of
its member.  Indubitably, the source of powers and privileges
77 supra at Footnote No.66
76
of Legislatures in India is derived from Article 105(3) in case
of   Parliament   and   Article   194(3)   concerning   the   State
Legislature.  In absence of a law to define such powers and
privileges, as of now, it can only exercise those powers as
existed in the House of Commons of the Parliament of United
Kingdom at the commencement of the Constitution.
66. In the celebrated treatise of Sir Thomas Erskine May78
dealing   with   the   Parliamentary   privileges,   it   is   noted   as
follows:  
“if for a subsequent occasion, in default of an order by the
House that the suspension of the member shall terminate
when   the   House   orders   that   it   shall   do   so,  the
suspension shall be for the remainder of the Session.”
(emphasis supplied)
He then noted that the first or subsequent occasion would mean
the first or the subsequent occasion in the same session.
67. Further, the position as obtained in United Kingdom at
the relevant time to suspend its members was governed by
the House of Commons Standing Order Relative to Public
78 The Law, Privileges Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, Fifteenth (1950) Edition (See
Chapter VII under the heading “Proceedings upon the naming of a Member” at pages 451­
452.)
77
Business 1948. The relevant Standing Order is No. 22 (1 to 4)
as reproduced hereunder:
“22. Order in debate.— (1) Whenever a Member shall have
been   named   by   Mr.   Speaker   or   by   the   chairman,
immediately   after   the   commission   of   the   offence   of
disregarding the authority of the chair, or of persistently
and willfully obstructing the business of the House by
abusing the rules of the House, or otherwise, then, if the
offence   has   been   committed   by   such   Member   in   the
House, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the question, on a
motion   being   made,   no   amendment,   adjournment,   or
debate being allowed, “That such Member be suspended
from the service of the House”; and if the offence has been
committed   in   a   committee   of   the   whole   House,   the
chairman shall forthwith suspend the proceedings of the
committee and report the circumstances to the House;
and Mr. Speaker shall on a motion being made forthwith
put the same question, no amendment, adjournment, or
debate   being   allowed,   as   if   the   offence   had   been
committed in the House itself.
(2) If any member be suspended under this order, his
suspension on the first occasion shall continue until the
fifth day, and on the second occasion until the twentieth
day, on which the House shall sit after the day on which
he was suspended, but on any subsequent occasion until
the   House   shall   resolve   that   the   suspension   of   such
Member do terminate.
(3)   Not more than one Member shall be named at the
same   time,   unless   two   or   more   members,   present
together,   have   jointly   disregarded   the   authority   of   the
chair.
(4) If a Member, or two or more Members acting jointly,
who   have   been   suspended   under   this   order   from   the
service of the House, shall refuse to obey the direction of
Mr.   Speaker,   when   severally   summoned   under   Mr.
Speaker’s orders by the Serjeant at Arms to obey such
direction,   Mr.   Speaker   shall   call   the   attention   of   the
House to the fact that recourse to force is necessary in
order   to   compel   obedience   to   his   direction,   and   the
Member or Members named by him as having refused to
obey   his   direction   shall   thereupon   and   without   any
78
further question being put be suspended from the service
of the House during the remainder of the session.”
On conjoint reading of sub­clause (2) and (4) of the above­cited
Standing Order No. 22, it is seen that suspension of a member on
the first occasion can be for a period of five days or the remainder
of the session whichever is earlier. Even for the second occasion
the period of suspension is only twenty days or remainder of the
Session,  whichever  is   earlier.   On   any  subsequent   occasion   the
period of suspension shall be until the House shall resolve that the
suspension of such member do terminate.  
68. The Orissa High Court in  Sushanta  Kumar   Chand79
had occasion to deal with a case of warrant issued by the
Speaker of the Assembly to detain the contemnor for seven
days’   simple   imprisonment.     It   was   urged   that   as   the
unexpired period of sentence was beyond the term of the
Session of the House, the same had lapsed in law.  The High
Court answered the challenge in favour of the petitioners after
noticing   passage   from   Sir   Thomas   Erskine   May   and
Halsbury’s Laws of England.  The Sir Thomas Erskine May’s
79 supra at Footnote No.10
79
Parliamentary Practice relied upon in that decision, expounds
thus:
“Persons   committed   by   the   Commons,   if   not   sooner
discharged by the House, are immediately released from
their confinement on a prorogation, whether they have
paid the fees or not. If they were held longer in custody,
they would be discharged by the Courts upon a writ of
habeas corpus.”
And Halsbury’s Law of England relied upon in the same decision
observes thus:
“The Lords claim to have power to commit an offender for
a specified period even beyond the period of a session.
This course was also formerly pursued by the Commons
but was later abandoned; and it would now seem that
they no longer have power to keep offenders in prison
beyond the period of session……………”
(emphasis supplied)
The rationale for limiting all remedies for breach of privilege, as a
rule, to a Session in which the House takes action for such breach
is the effect of prorogation. According to Erskine May’s Treatise80, it
is stated as under:
“The effect of a prorogation is at once to  suspend   all
business  until  Parliament   shall  be   summoned   again.
Not only are the sittings of Parliament at an end, but
all   proceedings   pending   at   the   time   are   quashed,
except   impeachments   by   the   Commons,   and   appeals
before the House of Lords. Every bill must therefore be
renewed   after   a   prorogation,   as   if   it   had   never   been
introduced.”
(emphasis supplied)
80 1950 Edition at page 32 under the heading “Effect of a Prorogation”
80
69. A  priori,  if   the   Legislature   intended   to   depart   from
mechanism predicated in Rule 53, it ought to have expressly
provided for that dispensation.  If it had done that by a law or
in   the   form   of   Rules   framed   under   Article   208   of   the
Constitution, the legality and constitutionality thereof could
have been tested.   Suffice it to note, in absence thereof, it
would   inevitably   be   exercise   of   power   without   an   express
grant in that regard.   In such a case, the exercise of power
can only be implied or inherent and limited to the logic of
general necessity by way of self­protective or self­defensive
action   reasonably   necessary   for   proper   exercise   of   the
functions of the House during the ongoing Session.  Anything
in excess then for a day or the remainder of the ongoing
Session, would not be necessary much less rational exercise
of inherent power of the Assembly.   Even, Rule 53 bestows
authority in the Speaker to take action against the member
only for ensuring orderly functioning of the House.   Same
logic must apply to the exercise of inherent limited power by
the House, even if it may not be de facto under Rule 53.
81
70. Be   it   noted,   had   it   been   a   case   of   expulsion   of   the
member by the House in terms of Section 151A of the 1951
Act, the Election Commission would move into action and
rather be obliged to take steps not later than six months to fill
in the vacancy so caused subject to the situation referred to
in the proviso therein — so that the constituency could be
duly represented in the House at the earliest opportunity.
Concededly, the Legislative Assembly is a conglomeration of
members   chosen   by   direct   election   from   the   territorial
constituencies   in   the   State   (as   per   Article   170).     That
presupposes that all territorial constituencies must be duly
represented in the Assembly in continuum.  In any case, their
representation   cannot   be   deprived   for   longer   period   than
necessary for the orderly functioning of the House during the
Session.  For that reason, the statutory mandate postulated
vide Parliamentary law81  (which must be regarded as higher
law and acts as a limitation upon the Legislature as well, as
expounded   in  Sub­Committee   on   Judicial
81 Section 151A of the 1951 Act
82
Accountability82),   the   constituency   cannot   be   denied
representation in the House beyond a limited period due to
fortuitous situation.  Moreover, the expelled member would be
free to contest the mid­term election and get re­elected from
the same constituency.  In that, the member does not incur
any disqualification due to expulsion or even removal by the
House.  In case of suspension beyond the period of remainder
of the Session or sixty days or six months, as the case may
be, even though is not a case of disqualification incurred by
the   member,   it   would   entail   in   undue   deprivation   of   the
constituency to be represented in the House by their duly
elected   representative.     It   is,   therefore,   a   drastic   measure
trenching upon imposing penalty more than disciplinary or
corrective measure, beyond the limited inherent powers of the
House.
71. Learned  counsel  for  the   respondents  had   invited   our
attention to the judgments of the Gujarat High Court wherein
it had been held that the rules framed under Article 208 of
the   Constitution   are   neither   statutory   nor   binding   on   the
82 supra at Footnote No.33 (para 61)
83
Legislative Assembly.  Those decisions have not taken note of
the   efficacy   of   the   observations   made   by  the   Constitution
Bench of this Court in M.S.M. Sharma83 as back as in 1959
— that the rules framed under Article 208 of the Constitution
would have the effect of procedure established by law for the
purpose of Article 21 of the Constitution and which dictum
has   been   consistently   followed   in   subsequent   decisions
including by the Constitution Bench which dealt with the
case of Raja Ram Pal84
.   Accordingly, the decisions pressed
into service by the respondents cannot take the matter any
further.   The respondents have relied upon other decisions
including of this Court which, however, has had no occasion
to deal with the legality and efficacy of direction or order
issued by the House such as vide impugned resolution of
suspending duly elected members for a period of one year
instead of maximum period of remainder of the same Session.
Indeed, the decision of Madras High Court in V.C. Chandhira
Kumar,   Member   of   Legislative   Assembly85 held   the
83 supra at Footnote No.11
84 supra at Footnote No.14
85 supra at Footnote No.23
84
resolution of the Assembly reducing the original period of one
year to six months as valid, however, for the view that we
have taken, the said decision will be of no avail.
72. Resultantly, we have no hesitation in concluding that
the   impugned   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
(ongoing) Session.  Further, it is not a case of mere procedural
irregularity committed by the Legislature within the meaning
of Article 212(1) of the     Constitution.
73. Although learned counsel appearing for the parties had
raised diverse contentions, we need not dilate further having
opined that in exercise of inherent power of the House, the
suspension   of   the   members   could   not   have,   in   any   case,
exceeded the remainder period of the ongoing Session.   The
concerned Session having concluded long back in July 2021,
the petitions ought to succeed and could be disposed of with a
declaration   that   suspension   beyond   the   remainder   of   the
ongoing   Session   in   which   the   resolution   was   passed,   is
85
nullity,   unconstitutional   and   grossly   illegal   and   irrational.
The same cannot be given effect to beyond the remainder
period of the concerned Session and must be regarded as non
est in the eyes of law beyond that period.  For that reason, it
is unnecessary for us to dilate on other aspects of the matter.
Thus, we do not wish to examine the same.
Epilogue:
74. It is unnecessary to underscore that Parliament as well
as   the   State   Legislative   Assembly   are   regarded   as   sacred
places, just as the Judicature as temple of justice.   As a
matter of fact, the first place where justice is dispensed to the
common man is Parliament/Legislative Assembly albeit  by a
democratic process.  It is a place where policies and laws are
propounded for governing the citizenry.   It is here that the
entire range of activities concerning the masses until the last
mile, are discussed and their destinies are shaped.  That, in
itself, is the process of dispensing justice to the citizens of
this   country.     These   are   places   where   robust   and
dispassionate debates and discussion inspired by the highest
86
traditions of truth and righteousness ought to take place for
resolving the burning issues confronting the nation/State and
for dispensing justice — political, social and economic.  The
happenings in the House is reflection of the contemporary
societal   fabric.     The   behavioural   pattern   of   the   society   is
manifested or mirrored in the thought process and actions of
the members of the House during the debates.  It is in public
domain (through print, electronic and social media) that the
members of the Parliament or Assembly/Council of the State,
spend   much   of   the   time   in   a   hostile   atmosphere.     The
Parliament/Legislative   Assembly   are   becoming   more   and
more intransigent place.   The philosophical tenet, one must
agree  to   disagree  is  becoming  a  seldom scene  or  a  rarity
during the debates. It has become common to hear that the
House could not complete its usual scheduled business and
most of the  time had been spent  in jeering and  personal
attacks against each other instead of erudite constructive and
educative debates consistent with the highest tradition of the
august body.  This is the popular sentiment gaining ground
amongst   the   common   man.     It   is   disheartening   for   the
87
observers.     They   earnestly   feel   that   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 intellectual debates of the highest order, as have
been chronicled of their predecessors.   That legacy should
become more prominent than the rumpus caused very often.
Aggression during the debates has no place in the setting of
country governed by the Rule of Law.  Even a complex issue
needs to be resolved in a congenial atmosphere by observing
collegiality and showing full respect and deference towards
each other.   They ought to ensure optimum utilisation of
quality time of the House, which is very precious, and is the
need of the hour especially when we the people of India that is
Bharat,   take   credit   of   being   the   oldest   civilisation   on   the
planet   and   also   being   the   world’s   largest   democracy
(demographically).     For   becoming   world   leaders   and   selfdependant/reliant, quality of debates in the House ought to
be   of   the   highest   order   and   directed   towards   intrinsic
constitutional and native issues confronting the common man
of   the   nation/States,   who   are   at   the   crossroad   of   semi­
88
sesquicentennial or may we say platinum or diamond jubilee
year on completion of 75 years post­independence.   Being
House   of   respected   and   honourable   members,   who   are
emulated   by   their   ardent   followers   and   elected   from   their
respective   constituency,   they   are   expected   to   show
statesmanship and not brinkmanship.   In the House, their
goal is and must be one — so as to ensure the welfare and
happiness of we the people of this nation.  In any case, there
can be no place for disorderly conduct in the House much
less “grossly disorderly”.   Such conduct must be dealt with
sternly for ensuring orderly functioning of the House.   But,
that action must be constitutional, legal, rational and as per
the procedure established by law.  This case has thrown up
an occasion for all concerned to ponder over the need to
evolve and adhere to good practices befitting the august body;
and   appropriately  denounce  and  discourage   proponents   of
undemocratic   activities   in   the   House,   by   democratically
elected representatives.  We say no more.
Conclusion:
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75. In conclusion, we have no hesitation in allowing these
writ petitions and to declare that the impugned resolution
directing suspension of the petitioners beyond the period of
the remainder of the concerned Monsoon Session held in July
2021 is non est in the eyes  of  law, nullity,  unconstitutional,
substantively     illegal     and   irrational.        The       impugned
resolution       is,   thus,       declared     to     be
ineffective in law, insofar as the period beyond the remainder
of  the  stated Session in which the resolution came to  be
passed.
Order:
76. As a result of the stated declaration, the petitioners are
entitled for all consequential benefits of being members of the
Legislative Assembly, on and after the expiry of the period of
the remainder of the concerned Session in July 2021.   The
writ petitions are allowed in the above terms.  No order as to
costs.
Postscript:
77. While parting, we need to express a word of appreciation
for the able assistance given by the learned counsel appearing
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for the concerned parties enabling us to deal with the complex
issues on hand.   That they did despite the handicaps and
uncertainty of online interaction in virtual Court hearing.
Pending application(s), if any, stands disposed of.
..……………………………J.
          (A.M. Khanwilkar)
………………………………J.
          (Dinesh Maheshwari)
………………………………J.
          (C.T. Ravikumar)
New Delhi;
January 28, 2022.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

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