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`Court cannot tell Parliament what to debate'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 25 . The Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, today politely but firmly asserted that the Supreme Court (or for that matter, any court of law) could not tell Parliament what it should debate. Nor could any counsel, according to the Speaker, give any assurance to the Supreme Court that Parliament would take up any particular matter.

Mr. Chatterjee made the observation during an interaction with the media on the first day of the Budget session. He was keen on placing on record his view in the context of recent reports that the apex court had dismissed a petition on "charge sheeted" Ministers after the Government counsel gave an assurance that Parliament would discuss the issue.

Mr. Chatterjee also said that he was informed by the Prime Minister that the Government had given no undertaking that the issue would be discussed in Parliament. Mr. Chatterjee also criticised the Election Commission's directives of externment against some Lok Sabha members (from Bihar) from their constituencies during the just-concluded Assembly election. He thought it was not a "legitimate exercise of authority" for the Election Commission to order the elected members of the Lok Sabha to stay away from their constituencies.

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