New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the March 31, 2015 resolution of the Tamil Nadu assembly suspending six DMDK members from February 19, 2015 from the remainder of the then budget session and ten days of the monsoon session.
The assembly resolution suspending the DMDK members for their alleged unruly behaviour in the assembly on February 19, 2015, was in pursuance to the recommendations of the assembly's privileges committee.
A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, by their judgment, set aside the resolution holding that the privilege committee did not follow the principle of natural justice in its proceedings by not providing the DMDK members a copy of the video recording of their unruly conduct.
Noting that except for one, none of the others had sought a copy, Justice Chelameswar, speaking for the bench, said: "It is not the petitioners' burden to request for a copy of the video recording. It is the legal obligation of the Privileges Committee to ensure that a copy of the video recording is supplied to the petitioners in order to satisfy the requirements of the principles of natural justice."
"The failure to supply a copy of the video recording or affording an opportunity to the petitioners to view the video recording relied upon by the committee in our view clearly resulted in the violation of the principles of natural justice i.e. a denial of a reasonable opportunity to meet the case," the court said.
Citing the infirmity in the conduct of proceedings by the privilege committee, the court said: "We, therefore, have no option but to set aside the impugned resolution dated March 31, 2015 passed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The same is accordingly set aside."
As consequence the "the salary and other benefits incidental to the membership of the assembly stand restored to the six petitioners herein", it said.
The six DMDK lawmakers along with 13 others were suspended from the state assembly for the rest of the assembly's budget session.
Subsequently the privileges committee recommended action against them and thereafter the assembly passed a resolution suspending them for ten days of the next session too.
The petitioners had urged the apex court to declare the March 31, 2015 resolution "unconstitutional, illegal, null and void".