Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi on Thursday failed to obtain a stay from the Supreme Court on the proceedings of the Rajasthan High Court.
The Supreme Court also refused to stop the High Court from pronouncing its verdict on Friday on a petition filed by rebel Congress MLAs led by Sachin Pilot against notices seeking to disqualify them from the Assembly.
The court will have a further hearing on the Speaker’s plea on Monday with Justice Arun Mishra observing that he wants to hear the matter at length."The case requires prolonged hearing. It involves the very question of democracy itself," Justice Mishra said, stressing that the top court will have to consider the question of whether the courts can interfere with the disqualification proceedings initiated by the Speaker at an interim stage, before the Speaker decides on the disqualification plea.He told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was arguing on behalf of the Speaker, that the High Court verdict does not matter since the final decision would be now taken by the Supreme Court.
Legal experts said the Speaker had tied his own hands on the matter of disqualification of the rebels by rushing on Wednesday to the Apex Court.
He has to now wait at least until Monday, when the court resumes the hearing.
The apex court’s firm stand not to interfere came as a mini victory for the Pilot group and a sort of setback for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was toying with the idea of calling an Assembly session on Monday for a floor test, to establish that he has the majority in the House.
The Congress leadership is, however, holding back its nod for the floor test since Gehlot has a slender majority and it fears the government may collapse if another 4-5 MLAs desert it and go the Pilot way.
It was on Geholt’s insistence that Pilot was divested of the twin posts as deputy CM and PCC President, but the party is holding back its hand from expelling him or his supporters despite repeated pressures from CM Gehlot.The Bench, also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and M R Shah, dropped enough hints that they were not inclined to interfere with the High Court proceedings when Justice Mishra asked: "It is the matter of just one day, why can't you wait?"
Why is the Congress not expelling the rebel MLAs if it is convinced about their revolt, instead of making the Speaker expel them as members of the Assembly, the apex court demanded.
Kapil Sibal said he was not representing the party but the Speaker. He went on to cite interviews by the rebel MLAs to show they had indulged in anti-party activities.
Reading out the notices of disqualification sent by the Speaker to the MLAs, Sibal argued that until the Speaker gives his decision, there can't be any interdiction.