Rajasthan political crisis: HC orders status quo on Speaker's notice to rebel Cong MLAs

Speaker had issued notice to Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs after they were accused of defying a party whip

Rajasthan political crisis: HC orders status quo on Speaker's notice to rebel Cong MLAs

Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi. File Photos

Jaipur, July 24

The Rajasthan High Court on Friday ordered maintaining status quo on disqualification notice issued by the state Assembly Speaker to 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including Sachin Pilot.

The Assembly Speaker issued the notice to the MLAs on July 14 after the ruling Congress complained to him that the legislators had defied a whip to attend two legislature party meetings last week.

"The writ petition has been admitted and the court has ordered for status quo on the notices dated July 14. The matter will be heard in due course now," said a counsel for the Speaker.

The Bench, in its order, said the writ petition was maintainable and was admitted on the ground of three pleas of the petitioners.

"After completion of filing of pleadings of the parties and the intervenors, counsel for the parties shall be at liberty to file an application for early hearing of the writ petition. Till then, the ‘status quo’, as exists today viz-a-viz impugned notices dated 14.07.2020, shall be maintained," stated the order.

Also read: Cong MLAs stage dharna at Raj Bhawan, demand Assembly session

Prior to this, the court allowed an application for impleadment of the Union of India in the list of respondents.

The court also rejected two pleas which sought an order declaring that alleged actions of the petitioners as the members of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly do not come within the purview of disqualification envisaged under Para (2) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, and declaring Clause 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution ultra vires.

Rejecting the petitions, the court said they are beyond its jurisdiction.

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.

The Pilot camp, however, argued that a party whip applies only when the Assembly was in session.

The disqualification notice was challenged by the dissident MLAs through the writ petition which was taken up by the bench on last Friday and arguments were held.

The arguments continued on Monday and concluded on Tuesday. The court had on Tuesday said it would give appropriate order on the writ petition on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Assembly Speaker moved the Supreme Court and filed a special leave petition (SLP) on Wednesday.

Pilot was sacked as the Deputy Chief Minister and the president of the Congress state unit after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. PTI

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