The Delhi High Court today sought the Delhi Assembly Speaker's response on a plea by two persons whom he had sent to jail for throwing pamphlets and sloganeering in the House during a session. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri issued production warrants for the two, who are currently in Tihar Jail, to ensure their presence before it on the next date of hearing on July 17. The court, which had yesterday questioned the maintainability of the plea, today issued notice to Speaker Ram Niwas Goel and the Director General of Prisons after the petitioners' lawyer said in matters of alleged "illegal detention", the detaining authority's stand has to be sought. The bench, however, reiterated its observation made during yesterday's hearing, that the rules under which the two petitioners were sent to jail need to be challenged. "How is your detention illegal? The rules provide for it.
You have to challenge the rules. The rules you are not assailing say that if you commit contempt or breach of privilege of the Assembly in view of the House, then the Speaker can sentence you to imprisonment," the court said. The bench also said it wanted to uphold the law and if the petitioners could show that their detention was illegal, the court will immediately set it aside. The Speaker on June 28 had sent them to 30 days of rigorous imprisonment for "contempt and breach of privilege" of the House. The two petitioners, Jagdeep Rana and Rajan Kumar Madan, while sitting in the Visitors Gallery of the House had hurled pamphlets and raised slogans demanding the resignation of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain. The two, in their plea, have also claimed they were later allegedly thrashed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs. The two detainees have alleged that the Speaker's June 28 decision was taken without hearing them and therefore, it was "absolutely illegal and violates the principles of natural justice". Seeking their immediate release, they have also contended that under the rules, rigorous imprisonment cannot be awarded. Appearing for the Speaker, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra had yesterday said that the Speaker need not have heard them as the incident occurred in the presence of all the legislators. In their petition, the two have claimed their intention was to draw the government's and the AAP leaders' attention to the "glaring issue of corruption" plaguing the party. They have also said they had no intention of breaching the privilege or commit contempt of the legislative assembly, damage any property or harm any legislator. Jagdeep, who claims to be the Vice President of AAP's Delhi Unit, and Madan, who says he is incharge of the AAP for the states of Punjab and Chhattisgarh, have contended that no reason has been recorded for awarding them such a severe punishment.
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