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HC gives last chance to man who challenged Delhi Assembly rule

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The High today gave a final opportunity to a man, sentenced to 30-day jail term for creating a ruckus in the Assembly, to indicate if he intended to pursue his plea against a rule allowing punishment for breach of privilege of the House without a hearing.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Nazmi Waziri said no further opportunity would be granted to Jagdeep Rana, one of the two men who were sent to jail on June 28 by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel for throwing pamphlets and raising slogans in the House during a session, to indicate his stand.

"We cannot keep matters pending at your wish. We have already given you an opportunity twice. Its the third opportunity today. Your client has not contacted you. He may not be interested in this now," the bench told Rana's counsel.

Advocate Samir Chaudhary, appearing for Rana, said he has not got any instruction from his clent for filing rejoinder affidavit or prosecution of the matter and sought time to respond.

The listed the matter for hearing on October 26.

Rana has claimed in his plea that the two were sentenced without giving them an opportunity to be heard on the basis of Rule 75 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, 1997.

The rule states that "except where the breach of privilege or contempt has been committed in the view of the House, the House shall before passing any sentence give an opportunity to the person charged to be heard in explanation or exculpation of the offence against him".

The government has claimed that the incident of pamphlet throwing and sloganeering took place in full view of the House and therefore, there was no need to hear the two.

The two had initially moved a habeas corpus against their imprisonment. A habeas corpus plea is a petition which is filed to ensure a person under arrest is brought before a which will determine whether the detention is legal.

However, the court had said that without challenging the rule under which they were sentenced, the two could not claim their their imprisonment amounted to illegal detention.

With regard to petitioners Rana and Rajan Kumar Madan's claim that there was malafide on the part of the legislators who beat them up for throwing pamphlets and sloganeering in the House, the court asked them to file an affidavit giving an elaborate account of the facts.

They are also seeking prosecution of Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Amanatullah Khan, Jarnail Singh, Mohinder Goyal, Rajesh Gupta, Rituraj, Sanjeev Jha, Somnath Bharti, Nitin Tyagi, Prakash and Praveen Kumar, for allegedly beating them up after the incident of sloganeering.

The Delhi government's lawyer had told the bench that there was no illegality in the Speaker's order which was passed after all the 63 MLAs, including two from the opposition, who were present at that time, voted that action be taken against Rana and Madan.

The duo on June 28 while sitting in the Visitors' Gallery of the House had hurled pamphlets and raised slogans demanding the resignation of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

They had alleged that the Speaker's June 28 decision was taken without hearing them and therefore, was "absolutely illegal and violates the principles of natural justice".

Rana, who claimed to be the vice president of AAP's Delhi Unit, and Madan, who was stated to be part of the AAP units in Punjab and Chhattisgarh, have contended that no reason has been recorded for awarding them such a severe punishment.

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

First Published: Tue, October 10 2017. 18:32 IST