The Supreme Court today quashed notice of breach of privilege issued by the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker against the then Lokayukta after the ombudsman initiated probe against assembly officials for alleged irregularities in construction of a road leading to the legislative building.
"We are of the view that the action being investigated by the petitioners has nothing to do with the proceedings of the House and as such the said action cannot constitute any breach of privilege of the House or its members," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said.
It said the action taken by the then Lokayukta Justice Ripusudan Dayal is within the powers conferred under the statutes and, therefore, is legal and cannot constitute breach of any privilege. The bench said that privileges are available only insofar as they are necessary in order that House may freely perform its functions and for the application of Lokayukta Act, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta is for all public servants except the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the assembly. "... no privilege is available to the officials and, in any case, they cannot claim any privilege more than an ordinary citizen to whom the provisions of the said acts apply. Privileges do not extend to the activities undertaken outside the House on which the legislative provisions would apply without any differentiation," the bench said.