No action against Pilot camp till Tuesday: Rajasthan-HC to Speaker
The Rajasthan High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on a petition filed by former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices served to them, till Monday. The court has also directed the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly's Speaker, CP Joshi, to not take any sort of action against these dissident MLAs till 5:30 pm on Tuesday. Here's more.
The division bench of the HC hearing the Pilot camp's plea, comprising Rajasthan Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta, said the hearing would be resumed at 10:00 am on Monday. Also, the hearing on the disqualification notices issued to Pilot and other MLAs before Speaker Joshi, which was originally scheduled for 5:00 pm today, has been deferred until 5:30 pm on Tuesday.
"Hearing before Assembly Speaker (on the disqualification notices served to Pilot and other dissident MLAs) that was scheduled to be held today has been deferred till 5:30 pm Tuesday," Lawyer Prateek Kasliwal, who is representing Speaker Joshi in the Rajasthan HC, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. "No action can be taken against MLAs till then," he added.
The Pilot camp approached the HC on Thursday following Congress's alleged move to disqualify them from the Assembly. To recall, Speaker Joshi, on Tuesday, issued show-cause notices to the dissident MLAs over "anti-party activities." The notices were served for allegedly skipping Congress Legislature Party meetings on July 13 and 14, defying the party whip. The MLAs were asked to respond by 1:00 pm Friday.
Apart from Pilot, the notices were issued by the Speaker to Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena, Prithviraj Meena, Ved Prakash Solanki, Suresh Modi, Deependra Singh, Bhanwar Lal Sharma, Gajraj Khatana, and Indraj. Other MLAs on the list were Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hema Ram Chaudhary, Ram Niwas Gawriya, Amar Singh, Brijendra Singh Ola, Murari Lal, Mukesh Kumar Bhakar, Rakesh Parekh, and Harish Meena.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the petitioners, said Pilot only raised voice against CM Ashok Gehlot's "dictatorship" before the Congress leadership. He added Pilot was exercising his freedom of speech and this doesn't amount to defection. Salve said acts outside the House aren't a violation of anti-defection law, adding, "Whip is not applicable to meetings at homes and hotels...only applies to proceedings within House."
Meanwhile, Congress leader and senior advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the respondents, argued that the Pilot camp's plea against the show-cause notices issued by Speaker Joshi was premature. Before moving the HC, the rebel MLAs must first raise their contentions before the Assembly Speaker, he said. He also argued that the court cannot interfere with the notices issued by the Speaker.