Courts can scrutinise Speakers' actions: SC

The Supreme Court says that judiciary is supreme and courts have the right to interfere if need be.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 20:33 IST

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday brushed aside arguments that actions of the Speaker of a legislature were above judicial scrutiny.

Such a proposition was certainly not possible as the Speaker cannot be considered to be absolutely impartial since he does not severe his relationship from the political party on whose ticket he was elected to the House, the Bench felt.

"Unlike in other countries, a legislator, after getting elected as the Speaker, does not resign from the political party from which he had been elected to the House, so the argument cannot be sustained," the five-member Bench remarked.

The Bench's observations came during the marathon hearing of the arguments on the Constitutional validity of the split engineered by 37 MLAs of the BSP in Uttar Pradesh to facilitate Mulayam Singh Yadav to form a government in August 2003.

Senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for the UP government, had argued that the Speaker of a House by virtue of his Constitutional status is held in high esteem and hence his actions cannot be questioned in any court of law.

Justifying the split in the BSP and its recognition by the Speaker, Desai further submitted that courts did not have a role in judging the Speaker's decision.

It is for the Speaker to decide. Interference by the courts should be minimal unless his (Speaker's) actions are perverse, he maintained. On this, the apex court made the remark about the judiciary's supremacy.

"A split cannot be instantaneous, but is a continuous process within a reasonable time," he maintained to dispute BSP chief Mayawati's contention that the split was illegal since it took shape in "installments."

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 20:33 IST