Accusing Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot of trying to disqualify him as an MLA, rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Thursday moved the Rajasthan High Court against the disqualification notice against him.
Besides Pilot, 18 other MLAs, who were also issued the show cause notice of disqualification, have joined as parties to this petition against Rajasthan Speaker's decision.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi are expected to appear for Pilot in the high court.
The high court will hear the matter at 3pm on Thursday.
They have maintained that they are very much members of the party and never indulged in anything that would topple the Gehlot-government.
"Petitioners continue to express their allegiance to the party and are in manner seeking to defect any other party, much less bring down the government of which they have been part of," stated the petition.
The plea also "apprehends" that the Speaker will disqualify them under the pressure and influence of Ashok Gehlot.
They challenged the validity of the notices issued, saying it is an attempt to stifle their democratic right of dissent as they sought to change the leadership of the government.
"Voices of the masses were not being heard," said the petition, asking the notices to be set aside.
On Tuesday, the assembly Speaker issued notices to Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs after the party sought their disqualification from the state Assembly.
Sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and the other MLAs were asked to respond to the notices by Friday.
In their petition, Pilot and other MLAs have contended that the time given to them for responding to the notices is in breach of the norms and that there has to be a minimum of seven days to submit replies.
The petition by Pilot and other MLAs have also disputed the notices on merit, pointing out that all the MLAs are very much with the party right now and there is nothing adverse on record to infer otherwise.
According to the disqualification notices, the MLAs had defied a whip and did not attend the party's legislature party meetings held on Monday and Tuesday.
Notices were sent after the chief whip of the Congress in Rajasthan Assembly, Mahesh Joshi, wrote to the Speaker, seeking proceedings against the rebel MLAs in accordance with the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
The chief whip alleged in his complaint that the MLAs deliberately conspired against the Congress, acting openly against its interests.
They indulged in activities “blatantly prejudicial” to the continuation of the state government, the letter to the Speaker said.