Two men sentenced to a 30-day jail term for creating a ruckus in the Delhi Assembly today moved the Delhi High Court, seeking the prosecution of 10 AAP MLAs who had allegedly beaten them up.
Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri asked the counsel for the two jailed men — Jagdeep Rana and Rajan Kumar Madan — to move an application for amending the main petition in which they challenged the validity of an Assembly rule.
Under the rule, a person accused of breach of privilege of the House can be punished without being heard.
The two men, whose jail term comes to an end tomorrow, had sought action against the MLAs by narrating the incident in their affidavit, which did not impress the bench.
“You cannot implead the persons by way of an affidavit.
You need to move a proper application seeking an amendment in this regard. This affidavit will not help,” the bench said.
The counsel for the two agreed to the court’s direction.
The court has now listed the matter for further hearing on August 29.
Their lawyer, Sumit Chaudhary, submitted that the MLAs could claim immunity for their “criminal actions” under the garb of privileges of members of the Legislative Assembly and, thus, were liable for criminal prosecution.
Rana and Madan were sent to jail on June 28 by Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel for throwing pamphlets and raising slogans in the House while in session.
They are seeking the prosecution of Amanatullah Khan, Jarnail Singh, Mohinder Goyal, Rajesh Gupta, Rituraj, Sanjeev Jha, Somnath Bharti, Nitin Tyagi, Prakash and Praveen Kumar.
In their plea, the two said the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs attacked them in the Assembly corridors on June 28, after they raised slogans and threw pamphlets in the House demanding the resignation of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
The deputy Secretary, Delhi Legislative Assembly, today filed the affidavit on the plea challenging the validity of the Delhi Assembly rule, and said the petition was an “abuse” of the process of law, “not maintainable” and was “liable to be dismissed”.
The affidavit filed through Additional Standing Counsel Richa Kapoor said there was “no illegality, impropriety or perversity in the order of the detention”.
“The Legislative Assembly was warranted in exercise of its powers and privileges to take action and punish for its contempt, in the light of the unmanageable and disorderly circumstances created due to the contemptuous acts of the petitioners,” the affidavit said.
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 court which will determine whether the detention is legal.
However, the court had said without challenging the rule under which they were sentenced, the two could not claim their imprisonment amounted to illegal detention.
Subsequently they filed a separate petition claiming they were sentenced without being given 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.
Rule 75 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”.
In this case, the Delhi government claimed the incident of pamphlet throwing and sloganeering took place in full view of the House and so there was no need to hear the two.
The two men, while sitting in the Visitors’ Gallery of the House on June 28, had hurled the pamphlets and raised the slogans for Jain’s resignation.
They also claimed they were later thrashed by the MLAs.
The detainees have alleged that the Speaker’s decision was taken without a hearing, and, therefore, was “absolutely illegal” and violated the “principles of natural justice”.
( Source – PTI )