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'Parliament has no power to expel its members'
September 05, 2006 21:28 IST
Ten months after the expulsion of parliamentarians in the cash-for-query scam, the Supreme Court on Tuesday commenced hearing to examine the powers of Parliament to take such an action with senior advocate Ram Jethmalani saying neither House had the jurisdiction to terminate or punish its elected members.
"Neither House of Parliament has jurisdiction and power to terminate the membership of an elected member and thus expel him from Parliament," he told a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal.
The Bench, also comprising Justices K G Balakrishnan, C K Thakker, R V Raveenderan and D K Jain, is examining the issue of expulsion of 11 parliamentarians in the wake of 'cash-for-query' scam.
Of the 11, ten belonged to the Lok Sabha. Asserting that all principles needed to be gone into the question which has been settled earlier by this court, Jethmalani, who opened the arguments, said, "No House can remove a member because he has indulged in conduct outside the House, which does not meet with the approval of the House."
"This is not removal of obstruction but assertion of dignity at best," he added.
On the powers and privilege of Parliament to expel its members, the senior advocate compared the provisions in Indian Parliament and the House of Commons. "Article 105(3) of the Constitution does not confer on either House of Indian Parliament all the privileges that the British House of Commons exercised at the time of the coming into force of the Constitution of India," the senior advocate, who appeared for expelled Rashtriya Janata Dal member from Lok Sabha, Manoj Kumar, said.
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