New Delhi: A Supreme Court Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, has set aside the whole of Monday for hearing the petition of Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi against the High Court's directions not to proceed with the disqualification of 19 Congress rebel MLAs led by ousted state Congress president deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.
No other cases are listed before the Bench. The other two judges on the Bench are Justice B R Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari who were also on the Bench on Thursday that rose at 1 PM as scheduled to hear the matter further on Monday from 11 AM.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal repeatedly pressed for an interim order on Thursday or at least a stay on the Rajasthan High Court from pronouncing its verdict on Friday, but Justice Mishra did not oblige.
The judge said he wants to hear the matter at length since it involves the constitutional matter pertaining to the Tenth Schedule as it is sought to be used to silence a "voice of dissent" not permissible in a democracy. He expressed his own doubt whether a whip can be applied for something outside the Assembly and its defiance used to disqualify the MLAs under the anti-defection law.
The Speaker had rushed to the Apex Court to secure an ex-parte order. However, the Supreme Court would have to hear the other side now as the Pilot group has filed a caveat to hear it before giving any ruling.
While the 2-member Bench of Rajasthan High Court, headed by its Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty, had on Friday upheld the writ petition of the Pilot group as "maintainable" and asked the Speaker not to proceed with the disqualification proceedings, the Supreme Court ruling will have the finality in the matter.
If senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, who are engaged by Pilot, decide to argue at length as they did in the High Court, the Supreme Court hearing may even spill over to Tuesday.