A day after the Rajasthan High Court “requested”him to defer action against Sachin Pilot and other Congress rebels, Speaker CP Joshi said he will approach the Supreme Court.
Speaker Joshi, who served disqualification notices to 19 rebel MLAs including Sachin Pilot for “anti-party activities” last week, will approach the apex court with special leave petition citing “constitutional crisis.” Stating that the role of constitutional authorities are clearly defined, Joshi in his petition said the court can only intervene after the Speaker decides on a notice. “Speaker has the complete authority to send a show-cause notice. I have asked my counsel to file SLP in Supreme Court,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
In a breather for Pilot camp, Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday deferred its order on their petition till July 24, and “requested” the Speaker to extend the period given to the rebel MLAs to reply to his notice till then. The Speaker later agreed to defer any action “till the evening of July 24”.
Initially, the Speaker had told the MLAs to reply to his notice by July 17. But the rebel MLAs approached the court on July 16, saying they had not violated the clause under which their disqualification was sought. When the hearing remained inconclusive on July 17, the court extended the Speaker’s deadline till July 21.
On Tuesday, the court heard Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel for the petiti oners. With the respondents claiming that the petitioners’ application was premature and the Speaker was within his right to decide on what amounts to ‘voluntarily’ giving up party membership, Rohatgi said the court’s power cannot be curtailed and it has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Rohatgi said while the rebel Congress MLAs were given just three days, the Speaker was yet to move on an application filed by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar regarding former BSP MLAs. The rebels have argued that no whip can be in place when the assembly is not in session.
Amid the infighting between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, the Congress removed the latter from both his posts — as deputy chief minister and state PCC chief.
The party also cracked the whip on Pilot’s loyalists: Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena were removed from the state cabinet, and the state presidents of the Youth Congress and Seva Dal were replaced. The decision was announced after Pilot and his MLAs skipped two consecutive Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings in Jaipur last week.