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SC's no to PIL seeking codification of immunities of lawmakers

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Derogatory comments made by lawmakers on the floor of the House today drew the attention of the Supreme Court, which termed the issue "genuine" but told a petitioner seeking codification of the immunity granted to MPs and MLAs that the matter did not fall in its domain.

The apex refused to entertain the plea seeking codification of the constitutional immunity from prosecution granted to lawmakers for their statements and speeches on the floor of the House.

"The issue is genuine and somebody will have to raise it. But this is not in our domain. You pursue the remedy somewhere else. We cannot ask to lay down the guidelines," a bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra said.

The PIL, seeking codification of constitutional immunity of MPs and MLAs, was filed by lawyer Neela Kedar Gokhale in the backdrop of derogatory comments made by MPs in during debates pertaining to objectionable utterances of leader Daya Shankar Singh against head Mayawati.

"Whatever had been said by Daya Shankar Singh is not good, but subsequent statements made in against his family members cannot be justified at all and this may consider laying down some guidelines," senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for Gokhale, said, adding whatever is said on the floor of the House is immune from any scrutiny.

The bench, while appreciating the concerns expressed in the plea, reiterated that the issue did not fall under its domain and petitioner Gokhale was free to "take proper remedy" on the issue.

"This is right and high time to raise the issue. But, we cannot accept your prayers," the bench said.

Gokhale, in her PIL, had said that two wrongs do not set a problem right.

If one makes a derogatory comment, it does not justify equally condemnable statements given by the leaders on the floor of the House as it incites their supporters to wreak vengeance against not only the one who made derogatory statements but his family members too, she said.

The woman lawyer referred to the trauma caused to Singh's spouse and their 12-year-old daughter by the derogatory comments made against them by workers after an allegedly inciteful speech by their leader.

"There is an urgent need to codify the immunities for speech in the House enjoyed by the members to distinguish and make actionable those statements which had potential to incite violence and unrest in the country," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 17 2016. 19:33 IST