Supreme Court ruling on MPs' expulsion welcomed (With India-Politics/Law-MPs)
Jan 10, 2007, 15:00 GMT
New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The legal community joined political parties in welcoming the Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday that upheld the expulsion by parliament of its 11 members for allegedly accepting cash to raise questions, saying it would make the members more disciplined.
They termed it as a 'bold and correct' decision and expressed happiness that the court 'endorsed parliament's disciplinary jurisdiction over their members'.
As many as 11 MPs, 10 from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rahya Sabha, were expelled after a TV channel expose showed them allegedly accepting bribes to raise specific questions in the house.
The Supreme Court's verdict came on a bunch of petitions filed by the MPs questioning the power of the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman to expel them.
'It's a correct decision. The court could not have intervened or upturned the parliament's decision to expel its members, unless there was any ulterior motive on the part of parliament in expelling the MPs,' said senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan.
'I welcome the verdict as it endorses parliament's disciplinary jurisdiction over its members.'
Eminent constitutional expert Anil B. Divan said: 'The court rightly upheld parliament's decision to expel the MPs for accepting bribes.
'The MPs had approached the court contending that their expulsion was in violation of their rights and privileges under Article 105 of the constitution and impinged upon their fundamental right,' said Divan
'But the court rightly held that there was no question of any fundamental right involved in the case of MPs accepting money to ask questions in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
'It would at least instill a semblance of discipline in MPs,' Divan said.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam termed the ruling as 'bold.'
Welcoming the ruling, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: 'From the day one we believed that the expulsion of the MPs, caught on camera for accepting bribe, was a right step.
'That is why the BJP had expelled its erring MPs soon after they were shown accepting bribes. We did not even wait for parliament to expel them,' said Naqvi, whose party had the largest number of MPs caught in the cash-for-query scandal.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: 'It's a landmark ruling. We welcome it.'
The Communist Party of India (CPI) said the court verdict had upheld parliament's right to expel its members for misconduct. The ruling will have 'have a positive impact on the members' behaviour', said CPI secretary D. Raja.
Raja added the verdict proves that parliament is supreme as it represents the will of people and upholds the democratic system of governance.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service