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Delhi HC asks suspended BJP MLAs to meet Speaker as Lt Governor accepts apology

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the seven suspended Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) MLAs to meet the Assembly Speaker after Lt Governor accepted their apology.

The court on Tuesday had asked the MLAs -- Mohan Singh Bisht, Ajay Mahawar, O.P. Sharma, Abhay Verma, Anil Vajpayi, Jitender Mahajan, and Vijender Gupta -- if they are willing to tender an apology to the Lt Governor.

On Wednesday, counsel for the MLAs informed the court that they had sent a letter of apology to the Lt Governor, which was accepted, and a copy of the letter was also forwarded to the Speaker via email.

The seven BJP MLAs moved the high court on Monday challenging their suspension for the remainder of the Budget session of the Assembly, saying it was maliciously engineered to disable the opposition members from participating in the discussions.

The members were suspended for allegedly interrupting the Lt Governor's address, highlighting AAP government achievements on February 15.

During the hearing, the MLAs' counsel expressed concerns about their continued suspension and contested recent political comments and messages, indicating a potentially contentious environment.

Despite these concerns, Justice Subramonium Prasad urged the MLAs to meet the Speaker to address the matter directly.

Noting that the court's role is to uphold the law and that any resolution should be sought outside of political considerations, he encouraged the MLAs to engage in dialogue with the Speaker to resolve the issue amicably.

The court clarified that it is not interested in the nature of the meeting or its outcome, reaffirming its commitment to impartiality and adherence to legal principles.

Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, representing the Assembly, suggested that the MLAs should present the letter of apology during the meeting with the Speaker.

The matter is scheduled to be heard again on Thursday.

Nandrajog had, on Tuesday, mentioned the non-political nature of the matter, stressing its significance in upholding the dignity of the Lt Governor's office. He had referenced a similar approach taken in the Supreme Court regarding MP Raghav Chadha's case, suggesting that a resolution could be reached through apology.

As senior advocate Jayant Mehta, representing the MLAs, had expressed openness to apologising to the Lt Governor, Justice Prasad had asked the petitioners’ counsel to come back with instructions.

Mehta had, on Monday, argued that the suspension is unconstitutional and contrary to rules, affecting their right to participate in proceedings.

"This was maliciously engineered to disable the opposition members to participate in the discussions on crucial businesses that were to be discussed and to also exclude them, albeit unconstitutionally, from participating in the budget session of the House," their plea said, adding the move was grossly unconstitutional and even contrary to Rules of Business of the House.

Mehta had said that the motion to suspend them was excessive, advocating a maximum three-day suspension instead of an indefinite one.

AAP MLA Dilip Pandey initiated the resolution for suspension in the House, which Speaker Ram Niwas Goel accepted. The matter was also forwarded to the Privileges Committee. The suspended MLAs, except Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, were barred from Assembly proceedings until the committee's report is received.

--IANS

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