Wary SC Plays by House Rules

Apex court dismisses PIL seeking guidelines to ensure parliamentarians do not disrupt proceedings

Published: 25th September 2015 04:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2015 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Dismissing a petition seeking guidelines to ensure uninterrupted functioning of Parliament, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it knows its ‘lakshman rekha’, adding that the judiciary cannot monitor the business of Parliament as doing so would be overstepping its boundary.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by the NGO, Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) on August 12 in the wake of the unreasonable and unjustified disruption of proceedings of Parliament by the Congress-led opposition protesting against Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam during the monsoon session. “We cannot monitor Parliament. The Speaker of the House knows how to manage the function of the House. We should know our ‘lakshman rekha’. We should never cross the ‘lakshman rekha’. We should not be overstepping our boundary to say Parliament should be conducted in this manner and not in that manner. No, we cannot say,” the bench said.

“In a democracy, parliamentarians know how to function. We are not here to teach them. They know better,” it added.

The court asked the NGO to make a representation to the parliamentarians as to what they should do or not do, adding that law makers were experienced and had wisdom.

They are elected representatives. They know their responsibilities and surely they know how to conduct themselves.

The PIL said that over the past six Parliament sessions, nearly 2,162 hours of business have been lost. Seeking guidelines from the Supreme Court, it said that in the absence of a law, there is total vacuum on how to deal with the issue of a non- functioning of Parliament, as was witnessed in recent monsoon session when a large part of the proceedings were washed out due to protests.

Objecting to bringing up such a matter before it, the apex court asked the counsel arguing on the issue, “Have you kept your house (courts) clean?”

“You may not know. As Chief Justice of India, I know. How many houses (courts) you have kept clean,” Chief Justice H L Dattu told the counsel, in an apparent reference to the recent incidents in Madras High Court where lawyers disrupted the court proceedings by raising slogans against the High Court Chief Justice.

When advocate Ravi Prakash Mehrotra pointed out to the court a similar concern on disruption and non-functioning of Parliament being voiced by President Pranab Mukherjee, the bench said, “The first citizen of the country has already advised them (parliamentarians) and they would take the advise seriously.”

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