The Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on a plea of suspended AAP lawmaker Raghav Chadha, who had challenged his indefinite suspension from Rajya Sabha, after it was informed that there was some development on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra listed the matter for hearing on December 1 after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, said that discussions are on in the matter.
“As per the court’s suggestion, some discussion has taken place and now he (Chadha) may have to appear before the privilege committee. The matter may be taken up on December 1, by then there will be some development,” Mehta said.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for Chadha, said the deadline to send questions to the House for the Winter Session is to expire soon so the matter can be listed on November 29.
CJI Chandrachud told Farasat, “Sometimes it is better to stay calm and read between the lines.”
The bench listed the matter for hearing on December 1.
On November 3, the top court had told Chadha to meet Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar and tender an unconditional apology to him over the select committee row, and added that the latter may consider it “sympathetically”.
It had taken note of the submissions of Farasat that the
first-time and youngest lawmaker from “the House of Elders” was willing to apologise to the vice president.
The top court had recorded the submission in the order and adjourned the hearing for Diwali vacation while asking Attorney General R Venkataramani to apprise it of the developments in the matter.
Chadha has been under suspension since August 11 after some MPs, a majority from the ruling BJP, accused him of adding their names to a motion without their consent. The motion sought the constitution of a select committee to examine the contentious Delhi Services Bill.
It was alleged that the Rajya Sabha MP had moved a motion to refer the Delhi Services Bill to the select committee.
He had allegedly named some lawmakers as members of the proposed committee and it was claimed that some of the MPs had not given their consent for it.
Taking note of the complaint, the chairman had suspended Chadha, pending an inquiry by the Committee of Privileges.
Earlier, the CJI-led bench had said the indefinite suspension of an MP could have very serious repercussions for people’s right to be represented by a person of their choice.
It had asked whether the Privileges Committee of Parliament could order Chadha’s suspension from Rajya Sabha for an unspecified duration.
The top court had said the exclusion of a member of the opposition from the House, just because of a perspective that may not be consistent with the viewpoint of the government, is a serious issue.
It had said the only charge against Chadha was that he did not seek permission from some MPs before deciding to include them in a proposed select committee, and sought to know from the attorney general if it could be considered an infraction warranting indefinite suspension.
In his plea, the AAP leader said the power to suspend indefinitely is dangerously open to excesses and abuse.
“The power to suspend is meant only to be used as a shield and not as a sword, that is, it cannot be penal,” the plea has said.
It added, “The suspension is in clear breach of Rule 256 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, which incorporates a categorical prohibition against the suspension of any member for a period exceeding the remainder of the session.”
The Rajya Sabha had passed a motion moved by the Leader of the House Piyush Goyal on August 11 seeking action against the AAP MP. Chadha was suspended on the last day of the Monsoon Session for “gross violation of rules, misconduct, defiant attitude and contemptuous conduct”, pending a report by the Privileges Committee.