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'Petitioner Is Personally Interested, PIL Not Maintainable': AG Kishore Datta Argues Before Calcutta High Court In Case Against Mukul Roy

Aaratrika Bhaumik
13 Sep 2021 4:20 PM GMT
Petitioner Is Personally Interested, PIL Not Maintainable: AG Kishore Datta Argues Before Calcutta High Court In Case Against Mukul Roy
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday heard extensive arguments from Advocate General Kishore Datta representing the State of West Bengal in the plea moved by BJP MLA Ambika Roy challenging the appointment of TMC MLA Mukul Roy as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.On July 9, Mukul Roy had been appointed as the Chairman of PAC by...

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The Calcutta High Court on Monday heard extensive arguments from Advocate General Kishore Datta representing the State of West Bengal in the plea moved by BJP MLA Ambika Roy challenging the appointment of TMC MLA Mukul Roy as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

On July 9, Mukul Roy had been appointed as the Chairman of PAC by the Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly for the year 2021-2022. The plea filed before the Court had contended that on June 11, without officially resigning from the BJP or as the MLA of Krishnanagar Uttar constituency, Mukul Roy had defected to the TMC party on June 11, 2021.

Advocate General Kishore Datta contended before the Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj that a matter pertaining to Legislative Assembly proceedings cannot be subjected to judicial review due to the bar under Article 212 of the Constitution. 

"To challenge anything in the Assembly, an independent motion has to be brought in the Assembly itself", the Advocate General contended. 

He further referred to Article 208 of the Constitution of India which stipulates that the Legislature of the State is authorized to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business. The Advocate General thus argued that the instant matter is a 'procedural matter' and is thus not up for adjudication by the judiciary. 

Political affiliation not pertinent, only qualification required is that the PAC Chairman has to be a member of the Committee 

Reliance was also placed on Rule 302 of Rules of Business and Conduct of Business to contend that the only qualification required for choosing the Chairman of PAC is that he/she must be a member of the Committee which Mukul Roy was in the instant matter. 

"Rule 302 contains the phrase 'from amongst its members', it does not speak of any political party", the Advocate General contended. 

On the last date of hearing, senior advocate C.S Vaidyanathan appearing on behalf of BJP MLA Ambika Roy had argued that there exists a 'constitutional convention' of appointing a member of the Opposition as the PAC Chairman. 

Furthermore, the Advocate General also referred to Rule 255 of the Rules of Business and Conduct of Business to contend that there exists no statutory requirement of appointing a member of the Opposition party as the PAC Chairman.

Judicial review of legislative proceedings barred under Article 212 of Constitution 

Emphasis was also made on Article 212(2) of the Constitution which bars any 'officer or member of the Legislature' from being subjected to the jurisdiction of any Court in regards to the exercise of powers for regulating procedure in the Legislature. 

To this the Bench enquired from the AG Datta, "Is the Speaker Of the Assembly an 'officer' of the State Assembly?"

In response, the Advocate General referred to the Supreme Court judgment in State of Kerala v. K. Ajith wherein it had been held by the Apex Court that the  Speaker is the 'presiding officer' of the Legislative Assembly. He also made a reference to Nabam Rebia And Ors v. Deputy Speaker wherein it had been held that it is constitutionally recognized that the Speaker is the officer of the Legislative Assembly. 

"Both Article 212 sub-sections (1) and (2) apply in the present case and thus the petition cannot be entertained by the Court", AG Datta further submitted. 

Petitioner personally interested, PIL not maintainable

The Advocate General further submitted before the Court that the petitioner had already moved a protest petition challenging the appointment of Mukul Roy as PAC Chairman on June 24, 2021. However, the Speaker of the Assembly had disposed of the objection. 

"The petitioner is personally interested, he cannot move a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in this aspect. His only remedy lies in moving an independent or substantive motion in the Assembly", AG Datta further argued. 

The Advocate General further referred to the format of the nomination forms that are to be filed and accordingly argued that the nomination forms do not necessitate any political affiliation to be divulged. 

The respondents concluded their arguments on Monday. The Court is slated to hear the matter again tomorrow i.e. on September 14 at 2pm to record the submissions in response by senior advocate C.S Vaidyanathan appearing on behalf of BJP MLA Ambika Roy. 

Case Title: Ambika Roy v. The Speaker, West Bengal Legislative Assembly and Ors

Also Read: Court Cannot Inquire Into Proceedings Of Legislature Under Article 212': TMC MLA Mukul Roy Argues Before Calcutta High Court

Also Read: 'Constitutional Convention Is To Appoint Opposition Leader As PAC Chairman' : BJP MLA Ambika Roy Argues Before Calcutta High Court In Case Against Mukul Roy

 












 

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