Mahua Moitra's expulsion: What Supreme Court said on MPs expelled in 2005 ‘cash for query' case | Mint
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Business News/ Politics / News/  Mahua Moitra's expulsion: What Supreme Court said on MPs expelled in 2005 ‘cash for query' case
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Mahua Moitra's expulsion: What Supreme Court said on MPs expelled in 2005 ‘cash for query' case

As TMC MP Mahua Moitra decides to approach Supreme Court challenging her expulsion from Lok Sabha in the ‘cash for query’ case, let's have a relook on apex court's verdict on similar case in 2005

TMC leader Mahua Moitra addresses the media with Congress MP Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders after being expelled by the Lok Sabha during the Winter session of Parliament (PTI)Premium
TMC leader Mahua Moitra addresses the media with Congress MP Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders after being expelled by the Lok Sabha during the Winter session of Parliament (PTI)

After her expulsion from Lok Sabha in the alleged ‘cash for query’ case, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has decided to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court. The TMC leader has maintained that the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha didn't have the power to recommend her expulsion and claimed that the committee took the decision even when there was no evidence that she accepted cash from businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for her parliamentary portal's login credentials.

Also Read: Mahua Moitra moves SC against expulsion from Lok Sabha over ‘cash-for-query’

This is not the first time in India that an MP has been accused of accepting money for asking questions. Back in 2005, 12 MPs- 11 from Lok Sabha and 1 from Rajya Sabha were expelled from the Parliament allegedly for accepting cash in exchange for raising questions in Parliament.

What SC said when an expelled MP challenged the decision?

Expelled BSP MP Raja Ram Pal decided to challenge the decision of their expulsion from Parliament and the Supreme Court announced its verdict in the case in 2007. In a 4-1 verdict, the apex court upheld the expulsion of MPs on the basis of Article 105 and called it a “self-protection" exercise by the Parliament.

As per news platform TheIndianExpress, a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal also added that “the Judicature is not prevented from scrutinizing the validity of the action of the legislature trespassing on the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens… the judicial review of the manner of exercise of the power of contempt or privilege does not mean the said jurisdiction is being usurped by the judicature."

What is Article 105?

Article 105 of the Indian Constitution deals with “powers, privileges, etc of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof." The Supreme Court mentioned the third clause of Article 105 which says “In other respects, the powers, privileges, and immunities of each House of Parliament, and of the members and the committees of each House, shall be such as may from time to time be defined by Parliament by law, and, until so defined, shall be those of that House and of its members and committees immediately before the coming into force of section 15 of the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978."

This Article of the Constitution is also subjected to much debate as some MPs claim that it limits of the freedom of expression of MPs in the House.

No absolute immunity under Article 105 (3)

The Supreme Court made it clear in its verdict that “there is no basis to claim… absolute immunity to the Parliamentary proceedings in Article 105(3) of the Constitution. The manner of enforcement of privilege by the legislature can result in judicial scrutiny, though subject to the restrictions contained in the other Constitutional provisions, for example, Article 122 or 212".

Also Read: Did Lok Sabha have power to expel Mahua Moitra as MP?

However, the court also added that the “truth or correctness of the material (relied upon by the Legislature for taking action) will not be questioned by the court nor will it go into the adequacy of the material or substitute its opinion for that of the Legislature".

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devesh Kumar
I cover politics, geo-politics, economy, and technology and have keen interest in understanding and analyzing the complex issues that shape our world. I am committed to delivering well-researched, balanced, and thought-provoking stories that provides insights into the key trends and developments.
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Published: 11 Dec 2023, 04:55 PM IST
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