No Immunity for rowdy lawmakers – UPSC GS2

Context: The Supreme Court held that a legislative privilege cannot be extended to provide legal immunity to criminal acts committed by lawmakers.
  • On March 13, 2015, six members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) from LDF party in Kerala tried to interrupt the presentation of the Budget. Their action resulted in destruction or damage to some items, amounting to a loss of Rs. 2.20 lakh.
  • Based on the Assembly Secretary’s complaint, the police registered a case and later filed a charge sheet against them.
  • The MLAs were booked for committing mischief and trespass under the IPC and destroying public property under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
  • This year, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram, had rejected the application by the public prosecutor for withdrawal of the prosecution case. This order was affirmed by the Kerala HC. Later, the Supreme Court also concurred with this decision.
Supreme Court Directive:
  • A legislative privilege cannot provide legal immunity to criminal acts of lawmakers.
  • It is an unacceptable argument that the alleged vandalism took place as part of the legislators’ right to protest on the floor of the House.
  • An alleged act of destroying public property within the House cannot be considered “essential” for their legislative functions.
  • It is the court’s duty to decide whether the prosecutor’s withdrawal is in good faith and in the interest of public policy. Further, the withdrawal shouldn’t aim at thwarting the process of law.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top