AAP MP Raghav Chadha moves SC against ‘indefinite suspension’ from Rajya Sabha

The power to suspend is meant only to be used as a shield and not as a sword, i.e. it cannot be penal, says petition

Published - October 11, 2023 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

AAP’s Raghav Chadha moves SC against his indefinite suspension. File

AAP’s Raghav Chadha moves SC against his indefinite suspension. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha has moved the Supreme Court against his indefinite suspension.

“The power to suspend is meant only to be used as a shield and not as a sword, i.e. it cannot be penal. The power to suspend indefinitely is dangerously open to excess and abuse,” Mr. Chadha ‘s petition, filed through advocate Shadan Farasat, submitted.

Mr. Chadha was suspended on August 11, the last day of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, for “gross violation of rule, misconduct, defiant attitude and contemptuous conduct”. The suspension would continue to operate during the pendency of the privileges committee proceedings against him. The committee had not taken a decision on him even at its recent meeting on October 5-6.

The petition said the MP was suspended an hour before the session was to be adjourned sine die. He remains suspended even after the session and could not attend the special session of the Parliament in September when the women’s reservation Bill was passed.

‘Breach of rule’

“The suspension is in clear breach of Rule 256 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (‘Rajya Sabha Rules’) which incorporates a categorical prohibition against the suspension of any member for a period ‘exceeding the remainder of the session’,” the petition said.

Mr. Chadha said he had not been able to attend the meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Committee on Subordinate Legislation, which continue their work even when the Parliament is not in session.

“A 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 concerned and more importantly, the constituency would remain unrepresented in the Assembly,” the petition noted.

The plea said a suspension should not have the effect of dismissal.

“In terms of Article 101(4) of the Constitution, the effect of an indefinite suspension, particularly outside the period of session is to de-facto create a vacancy after a period of 60 days… A suspension cannot have an effect of expulsion and create a vacancy in the House,” the petition said.

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