SC to hear AAP leader Raghav Chadha’s plea challenging suspension from Rajya Sabha

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha challenging his indefinite suspension from the Rajya Sabha.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had on October 16 sought a response from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on Chadha’s plea.

The apex court had also sought assistance of Attorney General R Venkataramani in adjudicating the issue.

The bench had taken note of the submissions of senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and lawyer Shadan Farasat, representing Chadha, that the suspension cannot extend beyond the particular session during which the decision to suspend the member was made.

The top court had also taken note of Dwivedi’s submissions that the case raised an “important national issue” and noted as many as seven issues for adjudication.

“Whether by an admixture of a resolution of the House and an order of the Chairperson under Rules 256 and 266, there is any jurisdiction to suspend a Member of Parliament pending an enquiry,” read one of the issues.

“Whether such an order could be passed after the matter was referred to the Committee on Privileges based on the same grounds for examination, investigation and report,” the bench had noted.

Another issue the bench noted was whether Rule 256 and Rule 266 (discretionary powers of RS chairman) empower the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to pass an order of suspension pending an inquiry.

It was alleged that the Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab 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 suspended Chadha, pending inquiry by the Committee of Privileges.

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In his plea, the AAP leader has 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, adding “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 leader for including the names of some members of the Upper House without their consent in a proposed select committee for considering the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

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.

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