Providing relief to Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs, Rajasthan High Court on Friday ordered that status quo be maintained on the disqualification notices issued to them by the Assembly Speaker. The petition has been admitted and will be heard in routine course. The RHC also allowed that the Union of India also be made a respondent in the petition.
The high court bench in its order said that the writ petition is maintainable and is admitted on the ground of three pleas of the petitioners.
“After completion of filing of pleadings of the parties and the intervenors, Counsel for the parties shall be at liberty to file an application for early hearing of the writ petition. Till then, the ‘status quo’ as exists today viz-a-viz impugned notices dated 14 July 2020 shall be maintained, the order said.
The HC rejected two pleas saying that they are beyond the jurisdiction of the High Court. In the two rejected pleas, the petitions had sought order declaring that alleged action of the petitioners as the members of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly do not come within the purview of disqualification envisaged under Para (2) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, and order declaring declaring Clause 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution ultra vires.
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.
Acting on a complaint by the party chief whip, Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly had issued show-cause notices Pilot and others on June 14. This was for violating a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings. The MLAs had filed a petition to challenge the notices. They had argued that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session.