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The Delhi High Court Friday rejected a petition of jailed Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, seeking permission to attend the ongoing session of parliament, and fined him Rs.1 lakh.

Turning down the 67-year-old’s application, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked him to deposit the fine money in the prime minister’s relief fund.

Upholding the government’s contention that the rights of a MP cannot be higher than that of an ordinary citizen under arrest, the court said: “Allowing the petitioner to attend parliament, even if in judicial custody, would certainty provide the petitioner respite from imprisonment. I see no reason to carve out an exception in favour of the petitioner when his fellow prisoners are not provided such respite.

“The parliamentary privileges which the MPs enjoy are intended to facilitate their work as representatives of people and should not be mistaken as indicative of rank or creating a separate class different from the other citizens,” the court said.

Kalmadi, who headed the Organising Committee of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is in Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail on charges of corruption.

Earlier, the government opposed the application saying Kalmadi’s medical report stated that he had memory loss problems.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) vehemently opposed Kalmadi’s plea saying he was making all attempts to get bail indirectly as the trial court had rejected his bail plea.

The court had reserved its order on the issue Aug 1.

“Merely because Kalmadi is MP does not entitle him to claim any exception from the effect of being in detention. Else, the petitioner has not made out any case necessitating him to attend parliament,” the court observed.

Earlier, senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for Kalmadi, submitted his attendance record of two years before the court and claimed the MP had a satisfactory attendance of 80-100 percent.

He submitted that in the 14th Lok Sabha, Kalmadi asked 154 questions and he had raised 42 in the present Lok Sabha.

Clarifying that during the Commonwealth Games, Kalmadi was unable to attend parliament, Desai said his client had “a special duty to perform”.

“Under article 105 of the Indian constitution, special rights and privileges have been given to MPs and the fundamental rights under article 19 are overridden by the provision made for the MPs,” said Desai.

He sought the court’s permission to allow Kalmadi to attend parliament under judicial custody.Desai also said the court cannot stop a MP from attending parliament and obstruct his freedom of speech.

Kalmadi was arrested April 25. The CBI May 20 filed its first charge sheet in the corruption case against him and 10 others.

The agency has described Kalmadi as the prime accused in the case related to financial irregularities related to the Commonwealth Games.

 


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