The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition of Congress MP and former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, at present lodged in judicial custody in a corruption case, seeking permission to attend the monsoon session of parliament that commenced in the morning.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw reserved the order after hearing arguments on behalf of Kalmadi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the central government.
The government opposed the application saying that the petitioner's (Kalmadi) medical report stated that he had memory loss problem.
"As per the medical report of Kalmadi, he is suffering from various ailments, including loss of memory and neurological infractions. If this is the condition of an MP, what will he remember from his constituency and present before parliament," said additional solicitor general (ASG) AS Chandihoke, appearing for the home ministry.
The CBI opposed Kalmadi's plea saying he was making all attempts to get bail indirectly as the trial court had rejected his plea.
Senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for Kalmadi, submitted his parliament attendance record for the past two years and claimed the lawmaker had a satisfactory attendance of 80-100%.
He submitted that in the previous Lok Sabha, Kalmadi asked 154 questions and in the present Lok Sabha so far he has asked 42 questions.
Clarifying that during the Commonwealth Games 2010 he was unable to attend parliament, Kalmadi said: "I have a special duty to perform. These duties arise from the constitution."
"Under Article 105 of the constitution special rights and privileges have been given to parliamentarians and the fundamental rights under Article 19 are overridden by the provision made for the MPs," said Desai, seeking court's permission to allow Kalmadi to attend parliament under judicial custody.
Desai said that the MP's freedom of speech could not be obstructed.
Annoyed over the submission, the court said, "General persons (are also) convicted and lodged in jail, their freedom of speech is also curtailed while they are in jail."
"Is there any special rule that an MP (in judicial custody) should be allowed to attend parliament session. If we do so then everyone lodged in jail should be allowed to go for their business meetings,” said Justice Endlaw.
Accepting the CBI's argument, the court said if he was allowed to attend parliament he may influence witnesses.
Kalmadi July 29 approached the high court after withdrawing the same application from a trial court.
He was arrested on April 25. The CBI on May 20 filed its first charge sheet in the corruption case against him and 10 others.
The probe agency has described Kalmadi as the prime accused in the case related to financial irregularities in awarding a Rs.141 crore contract for timing, scoring and result system for the Commonwealth Games, the October 2010 sporting event.
The court earlier asked Kalmadi's counsel what his client would do while attending parliament.
"Whoever is in lawful custody of criminal case has no right to attend parliament or has no right to freedom of speech," said CBI, opposing Kalmadi's application.