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Mahua Moitra's plea challenging her expulsion as MP not maintainable: LS secretariat to SC

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) The Lok Sabha secretariat has told the Supreme Court that Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra's plea challenging her expulsion from the Lower House is not maintainable and it does not satisfy the threshold of judicial review of legislative action which is permissible under the scheme of the Constitution.

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) The Lok Sabha secretariat has told the Supreme Court that Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra's plea challenging her expulsion from the Lower House is 'not maintainable' and it does not satisfy the threshold of judicial review of legislative action which is permissible under the scheme of the Constitution.

In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, the Lok Sabha secretariat said that Article 122 of the Constitution envisages a framework wherein the Parliament is allowed to exercise its internal functions and powers without judicial intervention in the first instance as Parliament is sovereign in respect of its internal proceedings.

It referred to Article 105 of the Constitution which deals with powers, privileges etc. of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof.

'The present writ petition is not maintainable in light of Article 105 and Article 122 of the Constitution of India. The present petition does not satisfy the threshold of judicial review of legislative action that is permissible under the scheme of the Constitution of India,' the affidavit said.

'As such, proceedings of the Parliament (and its constituents) cannot be called into question alleging any irregularity of procedure and the House of the People is the sole judge of the lawfulness of proceedings before it,' it said.

Moitra's plea came up for hearing on Monday before a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, which said it would be heard in the week commencing May 6.

In its affidavit, the Lok Sabha secretariat said the right to be elected to the Parliament and the right to continue as such is not traceable to any of the rights under Part III of the Constitution.

'The present petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking to enforce allegedly, the fundamental rights of a Member of the House, in respect of internal proceedings conducted by the House and the member's expulsion, is beyond the scope of judicial review, and is not maintainable,' it said.

On December 8 last year, after a heated debate in the Lok Sabha over the ethics panel report, during which Moitra was not allowed to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to expel the TMC MP from the House for 'unethical conduct'. The motion was adopted by a voice vote.

The ethics committee found Moitra guilty of 'unethical conduct' and contempt of the House as she had shared her Lok Sabha members' portal credentials -- user ID and password -- with unauthorised people, which had an irrepressible impact on national security, Joshi had said.

In its affidavit, the Lok Sabha secretariat said sharing credentials to the login portal can be susceptible to potential national security hazards and 'can not only render the system of the Lok Sabha to cyber attacks, and potentially disable the system, but can also potentially cripple the functioning of the Parliament of India'.

'These are valid concerns of national security as well as the dignity and independence of Parliamentary functioning,' it said.

It claimed Moitra has incorrectly contended that the right to vote of people from her constituency was being thwarted by the act of her expulsion.

On January 3, the apex court had sought a reply from the Lok Sabha secretary general on Moitra's petition challenging her expulsion. PTI ABA KVK KVK

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