New Delhi, Aug 29: Against the backdrop of jailed Suresh Kalmadi seeking its permission to attend Lok Sabha, the Delhi High Court today said it will examine whether an MP arrested in a criminal case is entitled to attend the House.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna decided to examine the issue while slating for hearing tomorrow the petition of Kalmadi, Congress Lok Sabha member from Pune and sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief, for permission to attend Parliament.
Kalmadi has moved the division bench of the high court, challenging the order of its single-judge bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, who had rejected his plea for such permission, saying it as a “an attempt to get fresh air outside the prison”.
The bench asked senior counsel Ashok Desai, representing Kalmadi, to make his submissions on “whether an MP is entitled to attend Parliament session when a criminal case is pending against him and he is also denied bail by the trial court.” The bench also made it clear to Desai that it would not go into Kalmadi's past attendance records etc inside Parliament.
Desai submitted to the bench that it is the constitutional duty of a parliamentarian to attend the House and this duty is also linked to some privileges conferred on them under Article 105 of the Constitution.
Desai also submitted that Kalmadi being a representative of people with a long standing of over 28 years, it is his duty to represent his constituency in Parliament.
“I am not going to attend any ceremony but I am to do my constitutional duty,” Desai further said.
Kalmadi has filed the appeal on the ground that the single judge had wrongly equated the rights of an MP with the rights of common people despite the Constitution conferring some privileges upon parliamentarians.
The 67-year-old Congress MP from Pune is facing criminal proceedings for his alleged role in awarding a lucrative Commonwealth Games contract to a Swiss firm at inflated rates.
Kalmadi sought the court's permission claiming that attending Parliament session is his duty towards his electorate and is linked to his right to freedom of speech and expression. PTI