After being snubbed by Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra for the second time over Ashok Gehlot government’s proposal for convening the Assembly session from July 31, Speaker CP Joshi on Monday withdrew his plea in the Supreme Court, against the High Court order asking him to defer his decision on disqualification notices issued to former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel Congress MLAs.
Rajasthan Speaker’s counsel, Kapil Sibal, told the top court that the Rajasthan High Court had passed a fresh order on July 24 which raised several other issues including interpretation of the 10th Schedule.
Sibal said the Congress government will weigh the legal options and added that the high court Friday order may be challenged after that.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is pulling all strings to keep his government from falling.
The decision to withdraw the SC plea comes after multiple setbacks – the recent one being the snub by the Governor, who earlier today, returned the files related to the convening of the Assembly session to the Parliamentary Affairs Department of the state.
Returning the files, the Governor has also sought some additional details from the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot. Thus, no decision has been taken yet on convening the Assembly Session on Friday as requested by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Earlier on Friday too, Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra had refused to accede to Ashok Gehlot’s call for an Assembly session to prove majority and sought a reply on six points from the state government, including about the reason to call a session of the Assembly for a floor test.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Gehlot called a meeting of his council of ministers at his residence to rework on a proposal to the Governor over calling a session of the state assembly.
Then on Sunday, the CM submitted a fresh proposal and listed Coronavirus and economy as the agenda for the special session.
The political tide in Rajasthan has not been quite favourable for the Gehlot camp as the high court, in a huge setback for the Congress government, accepted team Pilot’s eleventh-hour request to add Centre as a party in the disqualification case.
On July 24, the Rajasthan High Court made Centre a party in the case against Congress in the petition filed by team Pilot against the disqualification notice served by the Speaker and ordered status quo to be maintained.
The order came as the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Rajasthan Speaker’s petition to interfere in the High Court’s order to defer anti-defection proceedings against former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel Congress MLAs, saying that “the voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be suppressed”.
The top court concluded its hearing saying that the Rajasthan High Court can pass orders on rebel MLAs plea against disqualification notice from the Speaker.
Assembly Speaker CP Joshi had on July 22 moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court decision extending the time for Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel Congress MLAs to reply to the anti-defection notice of July 14.
The Speaker had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court to avert what he called a “constitutional crisis” in the state.
The plea contended that the High Court has intervened in the pending Tenth Schedule proceedings at the initial notice stage and restrained the Speaker from even calling for replies and conducting the disqualification proceedings pending against the rebel MLAs till July 24.
After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
Two other ministers, Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena, who joined him in his revolt, were also dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.
On the same evening, 19 dissident Congress leaders including Sachin Pilot were served notices by assembly Speaker CP Joshi for indulging in “anti-party activities”.
Currently, the Congress has a narrow lead over the opposition and is only one past the majority mark of 101 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Team Pilot claims the support of 30 MLAs; however, there is evidence of only 19. The BJP has 72. Including smaller parties and independent members, the opposition has 97 at the moment.