In a relief for the sacked Congress leader Sachin Pilot and his loyal MLAs, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday stopped the Assembly Speaker from taking any action for their disqualification till Tuesday.
“The hearing shall continue on Monday and is expected to conclude on Monday itself. Hence, the court stopped the Speaker to take any further action against the Pilot camp till Tuesday,” Advocate Anuj Bhandari, who was appearing for one of the lawmakers.
A two-judge bench was hearing the petition.
The Sachin Pilot camp had challenged the validity and legality of the notice sent to them on Tuesday by Speaker CP Joshi, asking them to explain why they should not be disqualified as Assembly members for defying the party whip.
Prithviraj Meena and 18 other MLAs, argued in the petition that “free speech” cannot be labelled as “anti-party activity”, and termed as “motivated” the complaint filed on behalf of Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi.
They had argued that not attending two meetings called by the Congress Legislature Party cannot fall within the purview of para (2) (a) or (2) (b) of the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule, so as to render him/them fit for disqualification on ground of defection.
Not attending party meetings as also voicing a difference of opinion outside the house are matters between the member and his party and do not fall within the Tenth Schedule, they argued.
They have also argued that they can’t be served such notices when the Rajasthan Assembly is not in session.
Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, sought the court’s permission to file an application for amendment. Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi also appeared for Pilot, while Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented the Ashok Gehlot government.
Rebel Congress leader Pilot and his 18 loyalist MLAs had moved the high court against Speaker CP Joshi’s disqualification notice on Thursday, alleging that he “was acting under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s influence”.
The petition, filed by MLA PR Meena on behalf of the rebel MLAs who were slapped notice for not attending two meetings of the Congress Legislature Party called in a Jaipur hotel and the Chief Minister’s residence, said that “they fear the Speaker would act as per Gehlot’s instruction without giving us a fair hearing”.