Hyderabad: In a major setback for the YSR Congress, the Andhra Pradesh High Court division bench on Tuesday set aside the single judge order on quashing suspension of MLA Roja from the state Assembly for one year for allegedly using unparliamentary language in the House.
The High Court had taken the matter for hearing after the Andhra Pradesh government represented by the secretary for legislative affairs had moved an appeal against the order of the single judge.
The division bench comprising acting chief justice Dilip B Bhosale and justice B Naveen Rao while suspending the order of the single judge, relied on the ground that the judicial review is limited on a motion moved by the legislature to suspend a member to keep up the dignity of the house.
Roja, the MLA from Nagari in Chittoor district, was suspended for a year during the winter session of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in December last year for allegedly using unparliamentary and abusive language against certain members of the ruling Telugu Desam, including Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Earlier on Monday, a division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale and Justice P. Naveen Rao heard the arguments of Supreme Court senior counsel P P Rao on behalf of the AP government and Supreme Court senior counsel Indira Jaising for Roja.
Rao argued that courts could not have judicial review on an order passed by the legislature.
When Justice Bhosale and Ms Jaising asked how the government could move an appeal when the suspension order was made by the legislature, Rao replied that the minister for legislative affairs had moved the motion for suspension of the respondent MLA in the House and the ministry, represented by its secretary, had the right to move the appeal.
Admitting that quoting Rule 340 of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly while moving the motion in the House to suspend the respondent MLA was wrong, he said that under Article 194(3) of the Constitution the legislature had the power to rectify that wrong.
He argued that the Rule, which was wrongly quoted, should not be taken into consideration and the court should see whether the House had the power to take such action or not.
He added that if the member had apologised for abusing the leader of the House that day, this situation would not have been arose.
When Justice Bhosale asked Jaising whether Roja was prepared to tender an apology to the House, she replied that at this stage the government was viewing the issue as a battle between the legislature and the judiciary.
Brushing aside the objection of Jaising that the House had not given a chance to Roja of being heard before passing the motion, Rao said that the House may proceed at once as it was a case involving the dignity of the House and that of using abusive language, but not obstruction of proceedings.
Jaising refuted the contentions of Rao and argued that a mistake committed by the House could not be rectified by the courts and said that the House had not complied with principles of natural justice while suspending the member.
Though 66 MLAs of YSR Congress had gathered at the Speaker’s podium to protest on December 18, 2015, the House had suspended only Roja, which exhibited the vindictive nature and ego of the ruling party, she said.
When the Bench pointed out that the single judge had not given any order directing the respondents to allow the member to participate in the Assembly sessions, Jaisingh replied that the single judge had observed that the member had the right to participate in the sessions.
The Bench had made it clear it was not going into the details and merits of the appeal at this stage and would only confine to the interim prayer of the appellant.