NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday set aside a resolution of the Tamil Nadu Assembly suspending six DMDK legislators for allegedly creating a ruckus and attempting to assault the Speaker in the House last year, without giving them a chance to defend themselves.
Holding that the principle of natural justice was violated as the MLAs were not provided with the video recording of their conduct, a Bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre, quashed the March 31, 2015 resolution of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, recommending action against them.
The court said the consequence of setting aside the resolution was that the salary and other benefits incidental to the membership of the Assembly stand restored to the six MLAs.
“It is the legal obligation of the Privileges Committee to ensure that a copy of the video recording is supplied to the petitioners (MLAs) in order to satisfy the requirements of the principles of natural justice,” the Bench said.
“The failure to supply a copy of the video recording or affording an opportunity to the petitioners to view the video recording relied upon by the committee, in our view, clearly resulted in the violation of the principles of natural justice, i.e. a denial of a reasonable opportunity to meet the case,” the Bench said.
“We, therefore, have no option but to set aside the impugned resolution dated March 31, 2015 passed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The same is accordingly set aside,” the Bench said.
“Perhaps they might have had an opportunity to explain why the video recording does not contain any evidence/material for recommending action against all or some of them, or to explain that the video recording should have been interpreted differently,” the judges noted.
The Bench said that when a legislator is prevented from participating in the proceedings of the House, there would be a curtailment of the legislator’s constitutional right of free speech in the House, of which he or she is a member.
“But such curtailment is sanctioned by Constitution in view of the fact that such a right is made subject to other provisions of the Constitution, the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of the legislative bodies,” it said.
DMK, MDMK, CPM Hail verdict
Chennai: MDMK general secretary Vaiko, CPM State secretary G Ramakrishnan and DMK treasurer MK Stalin welcomed the Supreme Court verdict revoking suspension of six DMDK MLAs - Chandirakumar, Mohanraj, Parthiban, Venkatesan, Sekar and Dhinakaran.