Speaker CP Joshi today said he will approach the Supreme Court a day after he was asked to defer action against the rebel MLAs led by now-sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.
Joshi, who served disqualification notices to the dissidents for "anti-party activities" last week, was asked to not act against the MLAs till Friday. Addressing a press conference, Joshi said he planned to move the SC to avert what he called a “constitutional crisis”. “The Speaker has the right to disqualify MLAs. No one can interfere in the Speaker's decision,” he said, adding that whatever judgment the court has given, “I have respected till now. However, does this respect and acceptance mean that one authority overlaps the role of the other?”
After a reprieve from the Rajasthan High Court in his slugfest with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot has served a legal notice to Congress MLA Giriraj Singh Malinga for his statement that Pilot had offered him money to join the BJP. A message on Pilot's official WhatsApp group said last night that he has served Malinga a legal notice for "the false and malicious statement" he made to the press.
Malinga told reporters on Monday that the talks were held at Pilot's residence and he (Malinga) alerted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot about the conspiracy to topple the state government. "I had a talk with Sachin ji. He had offered money to join the BJP but I refused that I will not join the BJP," Malinga said. Malinga is in the Gehlot camp and staying at a hotel on Delhi highway along with other MLAs. The MLA could not be contacted for comments.
Pilot and the 18 dissident Congress MLAs have challenged their disqualification notices in the high court through a writ petition. The petition was taken up by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta on Friday and arguments were held. The high court had on Friday given a four-day reprieve to Sachin Pilot and other Congress dissidents from any action by Rajasthan Speaker on the disqualification notices served on them by extending the hearing into their petition.
The hearing continued on Monday but it remained inconclusive and resumed on Tuesday. The notices to MLAs were served after the party complained to the Speaker that the legislators had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings, on Monday and Tuesday last week.
The Pilot camp, however, argued that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session. In its complaint to the Legislative Assembly Speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
The provision disqualifies MLAs if they 'voluntarily' give up the membership of the party which they represent in the House. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the president of the state unit of the party after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.