"Assembly Has Only Expressed An Opinion": Supreme Court Orally Remarks While Hearing Plea Alleging Transgression By State Assemblies For Passing Resolutions Against Central Laws

  • Sakshi Shukla
  • 08:38 PM, 19 Mar 2021

A Full judge Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Ramasubramanian, while hearing a PIL against the debate/resolution passed in various State Legislative Assemblies including Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal with regards to CAA and farm laws, noted,

“We can be with you if you say that Kerala assembly has no jurisdiction to disobey the law by the Parliament but they are only expressing an opinion here... They have not asked the people to disobey. They have only called upon the Parliament to abrogate the law.”

Senior Counsel Mr. Soumya Chakraborty appeared in the matter. It was his submission that Rules applicable upon State Legislative Assemblies do not confer absolute power or privilege in terms of Articles 194(2), 212 of the Constitution and further vary significantly from Freedom of Speech bestowed under Article 19 of the Constitution. “The opinion shall not relate to any matter which is under adjudication before the Court of Law. 60 Writ petitions are pending related to the said matter”, submitted the Senior Counsel. 

CJI SA Bobde remarked, “Has this rule never been interpreted before? There must be some precedents on it… We don’t want to create more problems than solving. You do more research on it.”

Matter was adjourned by two weeks.

The PIL was moved by Samta Andolan Samiti, an NGO based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is their brief contention that the State Legislative Assemblies of Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal had no jurisdiction whatsoever to debate/discuss/make any resolution against a statute passed on a matter under List I of Seventh Schedule.

Cause of Action arose after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed, coming into effect from December 12, 2019.

The plea enumerates:

  • Rules 109, 110 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan
  • Rules 117, 119, 121(1) of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Kerala Legislative Assembly 
  • Rules 150, 151 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha 
  • Rules 94, 95 and 102(1) of Rules and Regulations of West Bengal Legislative Assembly 

To submit that, “Respondent nos.3 to 6 in the present case and certain state legislatures in general are transgressing the limits set out in Article 246(1) of the Constitution, so as to save and protect once and for all the solemn spirit of the will of the people of India manifested in their Constitution, it is expedient and required that a declaration be made by this Hon’ble Court declaring the aforesaid practice of state legislatures discussing/debating/ matters falling under the Union list of the Seventh Schedule and making/issuing resolutions contrary to central statutes and in adverse criticism thereof.”

The petitioner states that the said practice of state legislatures in general and the Respondents no.3 to 6 in particular, is unfair and unreasonable to say the least, within the inhibitions of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Case Title: Samta Andolan Samiti v. Union of India