Rajasthan HC to hear Pilot camp petition over disqualification on Friday

19 MLAs sent notices by Speaker after Congress complained that they had defied party whip

Rajasthan HC to hear Pilot camp petition over disqualification on Friday

Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Jaipur, July 16

A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court will hear on Friday petition filed by dissident MLAs over Speaker's disqualification notice.

The amended petition filed by Sachin Pilot, 18 other Congress MLAs likely to be heard at 1 pm on Friday.

Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi, who had written to the Speaker seeking the MLAs' disqualification, also approached the court, asking to be heard before it passes any order.

The 19 MLAs were sent notices Tuesday by the Speaker after the Congress complained that they had defied a party whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings.

The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session.

Pilot moved the court ahead of Friday deadline the speaker had given to Pilot and 18 other rebel MLAs to respond.

The notice accused the rebels of deliberately skipping two CLP meetings at Jaipur and “deliberate collusion to topple the state government”.

Also read: Disqualification notice to Pilot, 18 MLAs brings issue of Speaker’s power to fore again

The Pilot camp has argued before the court that their absence at the CLP meetings cannot constitute defiance of the whip because whip applied only when the assembly is in session and the whip is issued on the floor of the house. The Pilot group has taken the battle to the court and would expect to pre-empt disqualification from the assembly by the Speaker.

Today’s move to go to the high court seeks to act in time to thwart damages because Speaker’s ruling once passed is hard to challenge legally. The disqualification notices have put spokes in the wheels of the Pilot camp with three MLAs said to have returned to Gehlot since yesterday according to the claims by CM’s people.

For Pilot the situation is getting tough to negotiate.

He has to hold his ground and also keep his flock together. His political elbow room would eventually depend on the MLAs who back him.

Pilot also doesn’t appear interested in taking up Congress offer of a truce after the CM on Wednesday launched an all-out public attack on him going to the extent of saying that there was evidence that “the former deputy CM and state chief was conspiring to topple his own government”.

Pilot would need to ward off the disqualification threat to buy time and plan his future moves. — With PTI inputs

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