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Can’t ‘condone’ unruly behaviour in Parliament, Assemblies: Supreme Court

Prime News, National, Constitution, Democracy, Judiciary, Crime, New Delhi, July 6:- The Supreme Court on Monday (July 5) said it has to take a “strict” view of unruly behaviour of lawmakers in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies as such incidents are “increasing nowadays” and this sort of conduct cannot be condoned.

File photo of bedlam in Kerala Assembly on March 13, 2015.

The top court, which was hearing pleas relating to a criminal case lodged in connection with ruckus inside Kerala Assembly in 2015 during the previous Congress-led UDF rule, said it must be ensured that decorum is maintained in the House.

“Prima facie, we have to take a very strict view on this kind of behaviour. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable,” a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said while referring to the incident in Kerala Assembly.

“We must ensure that some decorum is maintained. These are sentinels of democracy,” the bench said, adding, “Such types of incidents are increasing nowadays. In the parliament also, it is happening and one has to be strict on this.”

One of the pleas was filed by the Kerala government which has challenged the March 12 order of the high court dismissing its petition seeking withdrawal of a criminal case registered in connection with the ruckus inside the state Assembly in 2015.

The state Assembly had witnessed unprecedented scenes on March 13, 2015 as LDF members, then in opposition, tried to prevent then finance minister K M Mani, who was facing allegations in the bar bribery scam, from presenting the state budget.

Besides flinging the speaker’s chair from the podium, electronic equipment like computers, keyboards and mikes on the desk of the presiding officer were also allegedly damaged by the LDF members.

The case, which also involves V Sivankutty who is a minister in the state, was registered against a group of then LDF MLAs and others.

During the hearing conducted on Monday through video-conferencing, the top court referred to the incident in the Kerala Assembly and observed that the MLAs had obstructed the presentation of the finance budget and such behaviour cannot be accepted.

“We will not condone this kind of behaviour of MLAs who, on the floor of the house, throw mikes and destroys public property,” said the bench, which posted the matter for hearing on July 15.

“They were MLAs and they were representing people,” the bench said, adding, “What message are they giving to the public.”

One has to take a strict view on such conduct otherwise there would be no deterrence to this kind of behaviour, it said, adding that those involved in such behaviour should face trial under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

“This kind of behaviour cannot be condoned,” it said, adding, “What is the larger public interest in shielding an MLA who was obstructing the presentation of the finance budget in the House.” (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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