A Bench comprised of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra expressed the Apex court’s disappointment about the standard and quality of political debate while deciding the case of firebrand YSRC legislator R.K. Roja, who is now fighting a one-year suspension for allegedly using abusive and foul language against members of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), including Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The Bench advised Ms. Roja, represented by senior advocate Indira Jaising, to tender a personal explanation of the circumstances of her alleged behaviour to the Speaker with a line noting her regret. If this was done, the court said the onus was on the Assembly to drop all three proceedings against her. Ms. Roja sought and was granted a day’s time to respond to the court’s suggestion.

If Ms. Roja disagrees, the Bench would continue to hear her case against her suspension on merits.

The Bench made it clear that it was not forcing the lawmaker to apologise and was equally willing to hear and decide the case on merits.

However, Justice Gowda said it would only be in the larger interest that legislators of the State of Andhra Pradesh bury their hatchets now and stand together to re-build their State after the crippling impact of its recent bifurcation.

The Bench exhorted Ms. Roja to keep in mind the larger perspective that she was her people’s elected representative.

“We have read the debates of the Constituent Assembly, and we are witness to the happenings in the Legislative Houses today. Floors have become battlefields between warring groups… Likewise election speeches are meant to present the manifesto to the people and not anything else… Statesmanship is lacking in today’s politics,” Justice Gowda ruminated.

When Ms. Jaising argued that her client was trated like an “outcaste”, Justice Gowda said the main issue now before Andhra Pradesh is not personality conflicts between its politicians but the re-building of the State.

“Let us concentrate on the many problems the State is facing now. There are plenty of dry areas and no resources for the people. You (Andhra legislators) all should stay together and help in the larger cause,” Justice Gowda observed said addressed.

Justice Mishra told Ms. Jaising that her petitioner client should not be focusing solely on the legality of her current suspension, but shall become magnanimous.

The YSRC legislator was suspended by the Speaker in December 2015.

In her plea filed before the Supreme court, Ms. Roja plraded that her suspension for a period of one year was ex-facie wrong, illegal and violative of her fundamental rights safeguarded by Constitution. She contended that legally the suspension cannot be for more than the remainder of the ongoing legislative session..

While alleging political vendetta against her, Ms. Roja said that as an elected representative of the people she has been a vocal critic of policies of the current State government which are not in the interests of the people. She said she has been in the very forefront of many agitations and programmes organised by the party in opposition, YSR Congress Party. Hindu