The Delhi High Court has set aside the one-year suspension of the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Vijender Gupta from the Delhi Legislative Assembly (DLA). The Court has further allowed him to attend the remaining Budget Session.

A Single Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh held, “The record of the proceedings shows that this was the first suspension which was meted out to the Petitioner. Accordingly, in terms of Rule 227(3)(b), the suspension could have only to be for a period of three days which the Petitioner has already served in effect. … In view of the above discussion, the suspension period, being of one year deserves to be set aside. It is accordingly directed that the Petitioner would be permitted to attend the DLA from Monday i.e., 27th March, 2023 till the remainder of the current Session. The writ petition is allowed in the above terms.”

The Bench also directed the MLA to maintain the dignity of the House and said that it has not examined the merits of the suspension.

Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta appeared for the petitioner while ASC Sameer Vashisht appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a petition was filed by the petitioner, who was a sitting MLA of the Delhi Legislative Assembly challenging his suspension order which was imposed on him during the proceedings of the DLA on March 21, 2023.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “A perusal of the Rules as also the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ashish Shelar (supra), clearly shows that in Rule 277, the suspension is graded. Under Rule 277(1), the Hon’ble Speaker can direct any MLA to be suspended for the remainder of the day’s sitting if the conduct is disorderly. Rule 277(3)(b) clearly requires that, on the first occasion, the suspension can only be for three sittings. On the second occasion the suspension can be for seven sittings and thereafter for the remainder of the session, unless otherwise directed by the House. In terms of judgment of the Supreme Court in Ashish Shelar (supra), the suspension beyond the remainder of the session would be contrary to law.”

The Court further noted that the Budget Session of the DLA is currently ongoing and the petitioner has already remained suspended for four days i.e., from March 21, 2023, to March 24, 2023, in view of the suspension order.

“A perusal of the summary of proceedings extracted above shows that there was disturbance caused during the sitting of the House both by the Petitioner, as also by ruling party members. There is no gainsaying that the Members of the Legislative Assembly or any other elected house have to maintain dignity of the house in order to play a positive role owing to the mandate of the people”, observed the Court.

The Court asserted that the questions of law raised in respect of Rules 77 and 277 by the counsel for the respondents are left open to be decided in an appropriate case.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the plea.

Cause Title- Vijender Gupta v. Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi through Secretary & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:2138)

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