Some 12 BJP MLAs from Maharashtra, who were suspended for over a year for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer in the assembly, have moved the Supreme Court for relief.
They claimed that the action against them was mala fide and motivated as they were not heard before the process was initiated against them. They also argued that the punishment was disproportionate and must be reasonable.
“Heated exchanges between the ruling party and the Opposition form the essence of democracy and such action has been taken only to dilute the opposite strength,” their petition said. The petition was filed through advocates Siddharth Dharmadhikari and Abhikalp Pratap Singh.
The Opposition BJP MLAs alleged that there was no House Speaker yet. None had been appointed so far for reasons only known to the ruling party, the petition claimed.
The presiding officer chairing the house proceedings on July 5, 2021, denied the Opposition, even the leader of the opposition, a chance to even speak. This prompted a ruckus, but the Opposition benches apologised to the president officer and the issue was sorted out, the petition claimed. But the presiding officer then urged the ruling party to move a motion for suspension of the Opposition MLAs for allegedly manhandling, frisking and abusing him. They were eventually suspended for a year from the House.
The suspended MLAs claimed that there was a crowd in the House and there was no way for the presiding officer or any other person to identify the culprits. “The whole action is ex facie arbitrary.”