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'Disillusionment With Leadership is About Free Speech, Can't Disqualify for it': Sachin Pilot's Amended HC Plea

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. (PTI File)

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. (PTI File)

In the amendments carried out in his original petition, Pilot emphasised on freedom of speech and expression, and the right to dissent.

Sacked deputy chief minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot has submitted in the Rajasthan High Court that expressions of "dissatisfaction and disillusionment" against the party leadership cannot make a MLA amenable for disqualification.

In the amendments carried out in his original petition, Pilot emphasised on freedom of speech and expression, and the right to dissent.

This petition will be heard in the afternoon on Friday. The Speaker has assured the Rajasthan High Court that the proceedings against Pilot and others shall remain in abeyance till 5pm on Friday in the wake of the prosper hearing.

The petition, filed jointly by Pilot along with 18 other MLAs, has challenged the validity of clause 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

This provision and the interpretations given to it by a body of judgments by the Supreme Court have held that indulging in any anti-party activity tantamount to voluntarily giving up the membership of the party.

The petition has maintained that this provision cannot be so widely construed that the very same fundamental freedom of speech and expression of a member of the House is jeopardised.

Pilot and others said: "Mere expression of dissatisfaction or even disillusionment against the party leadership cannot be treated to be conduct falling within the clause 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India."

The plea added that even if expression of views and opinions, howsoever strongly worded, are treated to be a part of clause 2(1)(a), the said clause would not stand the scrutiny and will have to be declared ultra vires the basic structure of the Constitution of India in general and that of right of free speech under Article 19(1)(a) in particular.

It said that since the basis of the disqualification notices by the Speaker was expressions of dissent by some MLAs, it is necessary that the high court examines the validity of the impugned provision under the 10th Schedule.

The amended petition, apart from annulment of the disqualification notices, has also sought for declaring clause 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule ultra vires since it impinges upon the fundamental right of free speech.