In a significant development regarding the suspension of AamAadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha, the Supreme Court recorded Chadha’s statement agreeing to tender an unconditional apology to the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. The court urged the Chairperson to take a ‘sympathetic view’ of the apology. Chadha’s suspension had sparked concerns about proportionality and the exclusion of opposition voices in Parliament.
The bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, acknowledged Chadha’s status as the youngest and first-time member of Parliament. The judges emphasized that the Chairperson should consider an objective view of the matter for an amicable resolution. In the previous hearing, the bench had expressed apprehensions about Chadha’s indefinite suspension, emphasizing the importance of upholding the principle of proportionality and preserving the voices of the opposition in Parliament. Chief Justice Chandrachud had underscored the need for caution in excluding these voices from the legislative process.
Chief Justice Chandrachud stated in the recent hearing: “Last time we said that if he was tendering an apology, the Chairperson, who is a very distinguished person and a senior constitutional functionary, perhaps he may take an objective view.”
Both the Attorney General and the Solicitor General endorsed this approach. The Chief Justice then asked Advocate ShadanFarasat, representing Chadha, if he would be willing to offer an apology. Farasat affirmed his willingness, highlighting Chadha’s status as the youngest member of the Rajya Sabha. He also emphasized that the apology would not prejudice the legal contentions raised against the suspension.
Consequently, the bench officially recorded Chadha’s intent to apologize and conveyed the following statement: “Mr. Farasatsays that he is the youngest member in the Rajya Sabha. Bearing in mind that he has no intention to affect the dignity of the house of which he is a member, Mr. Farasat submits that the petitioner will seek an appointment with the Chairperson so that he may place an unconditional apology, which may be considered sympathetically.”
Raghav Chadha faced suspension over allegations that he failed to verify the willingness of certain members whose names he proposed for the select committee for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2023. The Rajya Sabha Chairperson suspended Chadha pending an inquiry by the Privileges Committee, following a resolution passed by the house.
This recent development signals a potential path to reconciliation in a matter that had raised concerns about the effective functioning of the legislative process. The Supreme Court’s encouragement of an apology and the willingness of all parties involved to pursue an amicable resolution underscore the importance of maintaining the decorum and effectiveness of parliamentary procedures.
The case is scheduled for further proceedings after the Diwali break, and the willingness of all parties to find common ground bodes well for a constructive resolution. It is a reminder of the significance of preserving the democratic process and the space for dissent and debate within the Indian Parliament. The willingness to consider reconciliation highlights the democratic values that underpin the country’s legislative system, ensuring that the voices of all elected representatives can be heard and their concerns addressed.