States passing motion on central laws: SC refuses to ‘create problems’

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The Supreme Court on Friday said it does not want to create more problems than solving during the hearing of a plea challenging the competence of state Assemblies from passing resolutions against the Central laws like CAA and farm laws.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde told the senior advocate Soumya Chakraborty, representing the NGO Samta Andolan Samiti, “You do more research. We do not want to create more problems than solving.”

Chakraborty submitted that privileges of the legislators cannot be used to comment on matters which are beyond the legislature’s jurisdiction. “The question of law of general importance arising in the present case is as to whether within the Constitutional framework, more particularly Article 213(2)(a) and Article 246(1), any State Legislature can adopt ‘Resolution’ adversely criticizing a Central statute which addresses an entry in List I of the Seventh Schedule”, said Chakraborty.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian deferred the hearing on the plea by four weeks and asked the petitioner to do more research on rules of state legislatures.

The plea contended that legislative actions of four different state Legislative Assemblies — Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal — have infringed upon the fundamental rights of all Indian citizens. “The State Assemblies had no jurisdiction to make laws on the subject matter of the Central statute in question which did not per se concern any particular state government and as a corollary, could not discuss/debate and/or pass resolutions against the said Central legislation”, said the plea filed through advocate Abhijit Banerjee.

The plea said the Rules of Procedure of these Legislative Assemblies framed under Article 208 contain chapters titled ‘resolutions’ which, apart from imposing a precondition upon the Speakers to decide the admissibility of the resolution before allowing the same to be placed in the Assembly, also prohibited subjects which were not primarily the concern of the state government and on which litigations are pending. “The said resolutions target a Central Legislation impinging upon entry 17 of the Union List, and as such are in breach of the Constitutional embargo set out in Article 246(1)”, said the plea.

The plea said by their arbitrary and motivated incursion into the Union List under the Seventh Schedule, the participating legislators of these four states infringed fundamental rights of the people thus manifestly violating the ‘oath of office’ administered by them while being made members of the respective Legislative Assemblies.

–IANS

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