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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Mahua Moitra’s expulsion beyond scope of judicial review: Lok Sabha secretariat tells Supreme Court

The secretariat cited Articles 105 and 122 of the Constitution in response to a notice issued by the apex court on January 3 on Moitra’s petition alleging violation of fundamental right by not allowing her to cross-examine complainant and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and others

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 13.03.24, 06:37 AM
Mahua Moitra at the Brigade rally on Sunday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Mahua Moitra at the Brigade rally on Sunday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta Sourced by the Telegraph

The Lok Sabha secretariat has told the Supreme Court that Trinamul leader Mahua Moitra’s plea challenging her expulsion over the alleged cash-for-query scam is not maintainable as Parliament is “sovereign” and enjoys immunity from judicial scrutiny.

To back up its claim, the secretariat cited Articles 105 and 122 of the Constitution in response to a notice issued by the apex court on January 3 on Moitra’s petition alleging violation of fundamental right by not allowing her to cross-examine complainant and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and others.

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Moitra was expelled from Parliament on the recommendations of the Lok Sabha ethics committee on November 9 last year. The Lok Sabha accepted the committee’s recommendations on the floor of the House and passed a resolution for her expulsion.

According to the counter-affidavit filed by the secretariat through advocate Ravi Bharuka, Article 122 envisages a framework wherein Parliament is allowed to exercise its internal functions and powers without judicial intervention in the first instance as “Parliament is sovereign in respect of its internal proceedings”.

“As such, proceedings of Parliament (and its constituents) cannot be called into question alleging any irregularity of procedure and the House of the People is the sole judge of the lawfulness of proceedings before it,” it said.

It was submitted that no person has a fundamental right to be elected to Parliament and, therefore, Moitra cannot claim violation of her fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 32.

It also referred to Article 105 of the Constitution, which deals with powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses of Parliament and its members and committees.

“...The claim of the Petitioner of violation of fundamental rights and the present writ petition in respect thereof is beyond the scope of law and not maintainable.... The present petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking to enforce allegedly, the fundamental rights of a Member of the House, in respect of internal proceedings conducted by the House and the member’s expulsion, is beyond the scope of judicial review, and is not maintainable,” it said.

The affidavit also defended Moitra’s expulsion on the ground that she had shared her parliamentary login ID and other details with UAE-based businessman Darshan Hirananandani, which impinged on national security and integrity.

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