On 28/1/2022 Supreme Court ruled that suspension of 12 BJP MLAs for one year on 5/7/2021 by Maharashtra Legislative Assembly was unconstitutional, substantially illegal and irrational. It held that suspension could not have been beyond that tenure of the session and one year suspension is worse than expulsion, disqualification or resignation. The MLAs were suspended for misbehaving with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in Speaker’s chamber. The bench consisted of Justices Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Chudalayil Thevan Ravikumar. The 12 MLAs were Abhimanyu Pawar, Ashish Shelar, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Bunty Bhangdiya, Girish Mahajan, Harish Pimple, Jaikumar Rawal, Narayan Kuche, Parag Alavani, Ram Satpute, Sanjay Kute and Yogesh Sagar.
Nana Patole was Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. He quit on 4/2/2021. After that Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal has been Acting Speaker. Maharashtra Government wanted election of Speaker on 28/12/2021. It changed the rule to election by voice vote instead of secret ballot. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari did not approve change of rule and there was no election. Secret ballot could have resulted in Maharashtra Government’s candidate losing. Now with 12 MLAs able to vote BJP is in a better position.
Article 178 of the Constitution says so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the Assembly shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be. It is almost one year since the office of Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is vacant.
Article 93 says – The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members to be respectively Speaker or Deputy Speaker thereof… Om Birla was elected Speaker of Lok Sabha (House of the People) on 19/6/2019. There has been no Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha. More than half of the term of Lok Sabha is over.
On 9/11/2009 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly suspended MNS MLAs Ram Kadam, Ramesh Vanjale, Shishir Shinde and Vasant Geete for four years for attack on Abu Azmi for taking oath in Hindi. In July 2010 the four MLAs tendered apologies and their suspension was revoked.
Many times, legislators behave badly in houses. Most of the times houses are adjourned and no action is taken against disruptors. Presiding officers should suspend them for the tenure of the session.