Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order to defer action on the disqualification notices to 19 rebel legislators, reported PTI.
The Speaker will challenge the High Court’s “delay and intervention” in the Supreme Court to avert a Constitutional crisis, reported NDTV. “It is well-defined by the Supreme Court that only the Speaker can decide on anti-defection,” Joshi told reporters. “The Speaker had full authority to send notice. It can be judicially reviewed only later, after the Speaker’s decision.”
The Speaker, in his plea filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, has said that the disqualification process is part of the Assembly proceedings. He argued that the High Court could not have interfered by asking him to defer it.
Joshi had served disqualification notices to 19 rebel MLAs, including former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, for “anti-party activities” last week. After the rebel MLAs approached the High Court, Joshi was first asked to defer action by three days. On Tuesday, the Rajasthan High Court said it would announce on July 24 its decision on the rebels’ petition and asked the Speaker to not take a decision on the disqualification notices till the final verdict.
The notices were served to Pilot and the rebel leaders after the MLAs had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings to resolve the political crisis in the state. However, the MLAs said that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session.
In their petition, the legislators sought to quash the notices, arguing that they had neither given up their membership of the House nor did their failure to attend two Congress meetings makes them liable for disqualification on the ground of defection. It added that an elected representative of the people cannot be removed from his post on the whims and fancies of the party’s leadership.
Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the president of the state unit of the party on July 14 after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.