Rajasthan crisis reaches SC, speaker to challenge HC's order
The political crisis of Rajasthan will soon echo in Supreme Court in Delhi as Speaker CP Joshi has decided to approach the top judicial body against the direction, issued to him yesterday by the Rajasthan High Court. Joshi, who served disqualification notices to ex-Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and his aides, was asked to not take a decision till Friday. He was not pleased.
Joshi served notices to Pilot and eighteen of his aides last week, asking them to reply as to why they shouldn't be disqualified despite not attending two key meetings of Congress. The notices were served after Pilot went rogue and challenged CM Ashok Gehlot to prove a majority. As he camped in Manesar, Pilot also rejected Congress' offers but maintained he wasn't quitting yet.
Challenging the notices, Pilot's team went to Rajasthan HC, interestingly choosing BJP-led Centre's top lawyers, Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, as representatives. Last week, Joshi was asked to not take a call until Monday, as the matter was adjourned. And on Tuesday, HC said it has reserved the order and will pronounce it on Friday. Notably, MLAs' disqualification means good news for Gehlot.
Speaking to reporters, Joshi let in on his decision to go to the apex court. He said, "It is well-defined by the Supreme Court that only the Speaker can decide on anti-defection. The Speaker had full authority to send the notice. It can be judicially reviewed only later, after the Speaker's decision." By going to HC, the rebels set a "dangerous precedent," he added.
"I don't want a confrontation. I respect the judges... but the roles are well defined. The Speaker has the complete authority to send a showcause notice. I have asked my counsel to file SLP in Supreme Court," Joshi reportedly said.
To recall, in HC, Pilot's representative Mukul Rohatgi claimed Joshi didn't "apply his mind" before sending the notices. The bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta was apprised that the rebels got merely three days to respond to his note, that too during coronavirus crisis. Pilot's team said disagreeing with the CM isn't a strong enough reason to disqualify MLAs.
Gehlot, who hopes courts help him retain his chair, launched his most fierce attack at his former junior this week. The senior Congress leader, said, "Hum jaante they ye (Pilot) nikamma hai, nakara hai, kuch kaam nahi kar raha hai, khali logon ko ladwa raha hai." However, despite his harsh words, neither Pilot nor Congress switched off communication channels with each other.