Justifying the en masse suspension of Opposition DMK MLAs' from the Tamil Nadu House last August, the Assembly Secretary has submitted in the Madras High Court that they had acted emotionally, indulged in disorderly acts and their behaviour was a serious misconduct.
In his counter affidavit, the Assembly Secretary said the procedure followed in passing the resolution and the decision for the week-long suspension of DMK MLAs in the House was in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules.
On August 17, uproarious scenes were witnessed in the assembly when DMK MLAs were evicted and suspended en masse by Speaker P Dhanapal for a week for allegedly disrupting the proceedings.
When the PIL challenging the suspension of the MLAs came up for hearing, the Assembly Secretary in his affidavit said the Assembly is best suited to be judge in the matter of conduct of its proceedings.
The Legislative Assembly has all the powers and privileges and immunities enjoyed by the British House of Commons, this aspect was enshrined in our Constitution, the affidavit said.
"The DMK members had acted emotionally and indulged in disorderly acts inside the Assembly as if they are not answerable to anyone or subject to any orderliness," the official submitted.
Noting that the House has power to suspend a member under Article 194 of the Constitution, the affidavit said the petition of the DMK deserves to be dismissed.
The behaviour of DMK members was a serious misconduct violating the privilege, dignity and decorum of the house and also amounts to contempt of the House and further added that the members were not suspended for the entire session but only one week.
Under Article 212 of the Constitution, the House has power to regulate its own proceedings and further it is the privilege of the House to conduct its internal proceedings including imposition of disciplinary measures against its members' disorderly conduct, free from interference, it was contended.
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Noting that the rule 208 Clause (1) framed in pursuance to Constitution for regulating the procedure and conduct of the House the counter said the rule was in vogue for several decades and this rule was invoked by the Assembly when DMK was in power to suspend members en masse without naming each member.
DMK had said each member was not named in suspension.
On earlier similar occasions in 2006 and 2007 (during DMK regime), the same procedure was followed as directed by the Speaker, it was submitted.
The affidavit further said the Speaker acted on authority vested upon him under Rule 286 of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules to suspend the members.
Noting that in similar situation that arose on May 26, then the House resolved to suspend all the members present -- 60 out of 61 members of AIADMK -- and at that time also the names of members who were suspended have not been mentioned in the resolution or in the orders of Speaker.
Rule 121 of the Assembly rules which was challenged by the petitioners clearly states a member who disregards the authority of the chair or abuses the rules of the House paves the way for the suspension of the members the counter affidavit said.