[Delhi Assembly Budget Session] "Go Meet the Speaker": High Court Tells Suspended BJP MLAs

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Allegedly, the BJP MLAs interrupted Lt Governor VK Saxena multiple times during his address on Thursday last week as they sought to attack Arvind Kejriwal government

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the seven BJP MLAs, suspended from the Delhi Assembly for disrupting the Lieutenant Governor's address, to meet the speaker.

At the outset, Senior Advocates Jayant Mehta and Kirti Uppal, on behalf of the suspended MLAs, apprised the court that an apology letter was sent to the LG and that he had accepted the apology. 

"However, according to the respondents, the speaker is the person we should have called. We sent a copy of the letter to the speaker, and we also sent it to the LG. Although we don't admit any wrongdoing, it was meant as an apology," Mehta added. 

Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the legislators to meet the speaker and scheduled the matter for further hearing tomorrow at noon.

Mehta assured the court that the legislators will meet the Speaker today. 

Yesterday, the court raised the prospect of an apology from seven BJP MLAs suspended from the Delhi Assembly for disrupting the Lieutenant Governor's address.

The judge had asked the senior counsel representing the suspended legislators to ascertain if they were willing to offer apologies. This suggestion followed a similar approach adopted by the Supreme Court in the case of MP Raghav Chadha.

Senior Advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, representing the Assembly Speaker, had emphasized that the issue transcended politics, underscoring its implications for the dignity of the LG's office. He had proposed a reconciliation path similar to that pursued in Chadha's case, wherein meeting the Speaker and tendering apologies to the LG could resolve the matter.

In response, Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta, representing the MLAs, had expressed readiness to apologize to the LG.

The court had instructed the petitioners' counsel to return in the post-lunch session with clarity on their clients' stance regarding the apology.

On Monday, Senior Advocates Jayant Mehta and Kirti Uppal had appeared before the court for the petitioners. Mehta had submitted that the Supreme Court had already said that a parliamentarian cannot be suspended for an indefinite period. "A maximum punishment of three days can be given for the first incident and seven days for the second incident of violation. This is the first punishment," he had said.

The Senior Advocate had contended, "On February 15, the LG was addressing the house, and in the course, certain assertions were made in the LG's speech against the government which were factually wrong. I objected. My objection was factual and to ensure that the sanctity of the house is maintained. Nonetheless, 7 of 8 opposition party MLAs were marshalled out."

He had added, "This was despite the fact that ruling party MLAs were also disrupting the proceedings. So, 7 of 8 MLAs of the opposition party were suspended immediately." Mehta had also argued, "As a legislator, if I cannot participate in the proceedings, that is the highest punishment". 

Seven Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, out of a total of eight in the Delhi Assembly, who were suspended for disrupting the Lieutenant Governor's address last week, moved the High Court today challenging the decision.

The BJP MLAs faced suspension on Friday last week following disruptions during the Lieutenant Governor's address on the first day of the budget session. Their protests led to the interruption of Governor VK Saxena's speech within less than thirty minutes.

AAP MLA Dilip Pandey proposed action against the BJP MLAs, prompting Speaker Ram Niwas Goel to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee. Subsequently, the House approved the suspension of seven BJP MLAs, with the exception of Leader of Opposition Ramveer Singh Bidhuri, until the committee presents its findings.

The suspended members, including Mohan Singh Bisht, Ajay Kumar Mahawar, Om Prakash Sharma, Abhay Verma, Anil Vajpayi, Jitender Mahajan, and Vijender Gupta, were directed by the Speaker to leave the assembly premises.

Pandey accused the BJP MLAs of tarnishing the government's reputation and undermining the House's dignity in the presence of the media. He further alleged that the BJP's actions were squandering Delhi's tax revenue by obstructing the legislature's functioning.

In response to their suspension, the BJP MLAs, alongside the opposition leader, staged protests inside the Assembly, chanting slogans, and later demonstrated outside the Chief Minister's office.

Case Title: Ajay Kumar Mahawar & Ors. v. Legislative Assembly of the NCT of Delhi & Anr. (connected matters)