Hours after the Supreme Court quashed the suspension of 12 Opposition legislators from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for one year, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government reacted cautiously while the Bharatiya Janata Party members were jubilant on Friday.
Leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress termed the suspension as a decision of the legislature which had the power to take action, while the BJP termed the apex court verdict as a ‘slap’ on the MVA government.
“The Maharashtra Legislature has the power to suspend MLAs, or for that matter the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha can also suspend MPs, it is well within their powers,” said Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
Senior ministers – NCP state President Jayant Patil and national spokesperson Nawab Malik – said that now it is an issue of the “jurisdictions of the court and the legislative bodies, concerning legislatures across and the country and the Parliament”.
“The state Legislature Secretariat will study the order after which the Speaker would take a call in the matter,” Malik added.
Congress state unit chief Nana Patole – himself an ex-Speaker – also said that the Legislature Secretariat will first study the SC order before proceeding ahead in the matter.
Raut said that any decision in the matter will be taken by the Assembly Speaker, who had given his ruling on the suspensions at that time after a scuffle in his chamber.
“I think it’s his (Speaker’s) right. Decisions are taken as per the law and the Constitution. The suspended MLAs and their party (BJP) need to self-introspect,” he said.
It may be recalled that on July 5, 2021, during the Monsoon Session of the state Assembly, 12 BJP MLAs were suspended for “misbehaving” and using “abusive language” vis-a-vis the then Presiding Officer Bhaskar Jadhav during a discussion on OBC quotas in the House.
The move to suspend the dozen Opposition MLAs sparked a massive furore and the party has been repeatedly raising the issue with the MVA to revoke the suspension.
The legislators are: Ashish Shelar, Jaykumar Rawal, Atul Bhatkalkar, Parag Alvani, Girish Mahajan, Yogesh Sagar, Ram Satpute, Sanjay Kute, Abhimanyu Pawar, Shirish Pimple, Narayan Kuche, Kirtikumar Bagadia.
Shelar, the BJP’s chief whip, later moved the apex court in the matter.