‘Court’s attitude to Kalmadi`s plea not conducive’

Last Updated: Saturday, July 30, 2011 - 15:17

New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Saturday said the attitude of the Delhi High Court over the plea of jailed MP Suresh Kalmadi to attend
proceedings of Lok Sabha were "not conducive to strengthening of Parliamentary democracy".

"While judicial proceedings are important, Parliament proceedings are also important. It is not conducive to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy", he told a news agency in the wake of the court`s observations in the case.

The court had observed that "there is no such important issue going to take place in Parliament that if you (Kalmadi) do not attend the session, then the government will fall".

At the same time, Chatterjee, who has strong views on judicial activism, made it clear that "it is certainly for the judiciary to decide whether a case is made out or not dehors the right to attend Parliament."

The legal definition of "dehors" is "outside or beyond the bounds of.

Chatterjee insisted that every member of Parliament is representing a constituency. "The problems of the people may arise today, tomorrow or the day after. Therefore, to apply what has happened in the past is not proper."

Kalmadi, who is an accused in the alleged multi-crore scam in the Commonwealth Games projects, case has sought permission to attend the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning Monday. He was yesterday asked by the High Court to
produce his attendance record in Lok Sabha for the last five years.

"Show me the past attendance record in Parliament sessions. What contribution he had during the sessions? What are the queries he had asked and what participation he wants now for which he has approached this court," Justice Rajiv
Sahai Endlaw said, while asking Kalmadi to file a detailed affidavit on it on Monday.

Not going into the merits of the case, Chatterjee insisted that whether a member is active or inactive may not be relevant.

The questions posed by Justice Endlaw included, "Why does he (Kalmadi) want to attend the session? Why should he be treated differently from other public servants, who are under arrest?"

"Everyday proceedings are being telecast and he can send questions to the Lok Sabha Speaker," the court suggested.

Kalmadi`s counsel pleaded that the MP has recently received a summon to attend the Monsoon Session and court can allow him to attend it under the custody of jail authority with any condition that it may feel to impose.

His contention was that Kalmadi has been an MP since 1982 and he has a Parliamentary duty to perform. "It is his obligation to attend and also his right to access Parliament to raise some questions in the House which is his right to the
speech and expression."

The lawyer also cited the cases of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Bihar MP Pappu Yadav and Jharkand MP Madhu Koda who were allowed to attend Parliamentary sessions under judicial custody.

Besides Kalmadi, other MPs at present lodged in Tihar jail are former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK member Kanimozhi. The two are accused in the 2G spectrum scam.

PTI




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