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Rajasthan HC Hearing to Resume on Tuesday, Speaker's Counsel Says Rebels' Petition 'Premature'

File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot. (PTI)

File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot. (PTI)

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the Speaker, argued that the petition was premature as a decision was yet to be taken on disqualifying the MLAs from the House. He said there was no scope for interference by a court over the show-cause notices issued by the Speaker.

Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court will on Tuesday resume hearing the petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the assembly Speaker.

The hearing remained inconclusive on Monday and Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty said it will be concluded Tuesday. The order is also likely to be pronounced on Tuesday.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the Speaker, argued that the petition was premature as a decision was yet to be taken on disqualifying the MLAs from the House. He said there was no scope for interference by a court over the show-cause notices issued by the Speaker.

Singhvi said that the Speaker is supreme as far as the legislative assembly is concerned and the notices have been issued within the purview of the Speaker's power.

A lawyer appearing for the Speaker told reporters that the chief justice asked is the Speaker bound to issue a notice on a petition seeking disqualification of such a nature without recording any reason. Singhvi argued that there was no requirement to record reasons as it was merely a show-cause notice.

On the other hand, the time for the Speaker to decide on the notices has not been deferred further. The counsel for the Speaker had assured the court on Friday that no order shall be passed on the notices till 5.30 pm on Tuesday. The MLAs wants the court to quash the disqualification notices.

The dissident MLAs had moved the court on Friday amid the infighting in the state unit of the Congress, as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot tussled for power.

The petition was taken up a by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta. The proceedings resumed on Monday morning and continued till the evening.

The notices to the MLAs were served after their party complained to the Speaker that they had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings last week.

The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session. In its complaint to the Speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

The provision disqualifies MLAs if they "voluntarily give up" the membership of the party that they represent in the House. Pilot was sacked as the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and the president of the state Congress unit after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

first published:July 20, 2020, 23:53 IST