SC allows Rajasthan HC to pass orders on plea of Pilot, 18 MLAs; directions subject to its verdict
New Delhi ;
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Rajasthan High Court to pronounce order on plea of 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy CM Sachin Pilot, against the Assembly Speaker’s notice for initiating disqualification proceedings against them, but said that it would be subject to the outcome of the petition before the top court. Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi however failed to get any interim relief on his plea alleging that the High Court cannot interdict the disqualification proceedings undertaken by him under 10th schedule of the Constitution.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krsihna Murari said Joshi’s plea raises important questions and requires prolonged hearing. “We are not restraining the High Court from passing the order but it will be subject to the outcome of the petition (of Speaker) before the Supreme Court,” the bench said, while fixing the plea for hearing on July 27. “Voice of dissent in democracy cannot be shut down”, the bench observed.
“We are trying to find out whether this process (disqualification) was permissible or not,” it said, while questioning Joshi on the reasons for initiating disqualification proceedings against the 19 dissident Congress MLAs. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Joshi, listed the reasons for starting the disqualification proceedings, saying that these MLAs did not attend party meetings and conspired to destabilise their own Government.
The bench said: “This is not a simple matter and these MLAs are elected representatives.” Responding to a query of the bench, Sibal said, “These MLAs had gone to Haryana, stayed at a hotel and gave TV bites that they want floor test.” He said the issue as to whether the disqualification process is permissible or not cannot be taken note of by the court at this stage. “Our grievance is purely constitutional and there cannot be any order till decision is taken by the speaker.” Sibal said that at the most the Speaker can be asked to decide disqualification within a time frame but the process can’t be interfered with and no writ can lie to challenge proceedings before Speaker prior to the decision on disqualification or suspension of MLAs. The bench asked Sibal whether a disqualification notice can be issued to MLAs for not attending the meetings and can it be taken as stand against the party.
The observation came when Sibal said that there was a notice issued by the Chief Whip of the party to all MLAs to attend the meetings. At the outset, Joshi told the top court that the state high court has no jurisdiction to restrain him from conducting disqualification proceedings till July 24 against 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. Assembly session ‘very soon’, will prove majority, says Gehlot: RAJASTHAN Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said that an Assembly session will be called soon and his Government will prove its majority. “The session of the Assembly will take place soon. The majority is with us, all Congress MLAs are united,” Gehlot told reporters. He hoped that some of the dissident MLAs, who are led by sacked Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, will also attend the session when it is called “very soon”. “Without them too, we have a full majority and will go to the House on the basis of this majority, and we will prove it,” he said.
Pilot, 18 MLAs move plea before Raj HC to include Govt in list of respondents
July 23 (PTI)
SACKED Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs, who challenged notices for disqualification issued by the Rajasthan Assembly speaker in the High Court, moved an application before the court on Thursday to include the Union Government in the list of respondents. The application was moved on the ground that Tenth Schedule’s constitutional validity was under challenge and therefore, the Union of India was a necessary party now.
An identical application was also filed in the Supreme Court where the Rajasthan assembly speaker filed a special leave petition (SLP). On Friday, the dissident Congress MLAs led by Pilot challenged their disqualification notices through a writ petition which was taken up by a bench of Raj HC, comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta, and arguments were held. The hearing continued on Monday and the arguments concluded on Tuesday.
The court will give an appropriate order in the writ petition on Friday. The notices to MLAs were served after the party complained that the legislators had defied a whip to attend two meetings on Monday and Tuesday last week.
The Pilot camp, however, argued that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session. In its complaint to the Legislative Assembly Speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. The provision disqualifies MLAs if they ‘voluntarily’ give up the membership of the party which they represent in the House. Pilot was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and the President of the State unit of the party after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.