The judiciary and legislature in Himachal Pradesh seem to be on a collision course over the high court’s order to ban the movement of vehicles of the legislators and their parking on the sealed roads in the state capital.
In a rare show of solidarity, the assembly on Tuesday slammed the high court over the issue. Calling for making the judiciary accountable too, the members, cutting across party lines, said the judges of the high court were not above the constitution and can’t take arbitrary decisions.
Their contentions came in the wake of the high court order in November last that stayed vehicle permits issued by the state government for sealed roads or restricted roads in Shimla.
Assuring the house, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the government would not compromise with the prestige of the legislators and would ensure that their respect and dignity is maintained.
He said the road near the new Metropol, the residential accommodation of the legislators on Mall Road, would be used for the parking of the legislators’ vehicles.
Speaker B.B.L. Butail, whose vehicle was also fined after the high court directive, blamed the state home department for the mess as it had misinterpreted the high court order.
The issue was raised in the assembly by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Hans Raj before Question Hour.
Congress member Sanjay Rattan said the judiciary was challenging the legislature, which was unjust.
He said in a democracy the elected members should not be insulted in this manner.
The chief minister said he too was concerned about the issue.
“The assembly is a constitutional body and the MLAs have their own dignity. It should be respected at all costs. The rights and privileges of the MLAs should be protected,” he added.