Cutting across party lines, all hues of politicians - including lawyer turned politicians - have welcomed the Supreme Court verdict upholding the right of Parliament to expel members for misconduct. The common consensus is also that the order will function as a deterrent against bad conduct of MPs.
Leading the pack, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said at Kolkata that the "milestone judgement" was welcome. Chatterjee said he had the highest respect for the judiciary, but maintained that the judicial review of powers of Parliament was debatable, save in exceptional cases.
For enabling the independent functioning of the organs of the state, there should be a “Lakshman Rekha”, he said. At the same time, he maintained that the MPs should strive to be a role model and should not behave in a manner unbecoming of the position they hold.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi - another of those individuals straddling the two worlds of law and politics - said the judgement reflects a reasonable balance between individual rights and legislative privileges.
The judgement, according to him, should not be “misread” to mean that the constitution never has any residual powers in extreme situations or for patent violations of the constitution. Equally, it upholds, for the first time, the expulsion as a fair exercise of legislative freedom, he added.
Also welcoming the judgement that “reiterates the Parliamentary supremacy in such matters” - BJP leader and former minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wanted the court to lay down proper parameters defining conduct of MPs that might warrant expulsion. Such parameters, he said, should be laid down in consultation of all political parties.
Union Minister Kapil Sibal referred to the verdict as a “benchmark order” and said it established the supremacy of the “will of the people”. He saw the judgement as a “good signal” for democracy.
Stating that his party had already responded on the issue, BJP leader Arun Jetley refused to comment in the matter.