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Rajasthan political crisis: Sachin Pilot camp gets another breather from high court

 The dissident MLAs had moved the court amid the infighting in the Rajasthan unit of the Congress as chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot tussled for power

Rajasthan political crisis: Sachin Pilot camp gets another breather from high court
Bengaluru, First Published Jul 21, 2020, 4:20 PM IST
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Jaipur: The Rajasthan high court has reserved its verdict on a writ petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the state Assembly speaker.

The high court told the Assembly Speaker that no action should be taken against Pilot and 18 other rebel MLAs till July 24.

The petition was taken up by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta on Friday and arguments were heard on Monday (July 20) till evening, but no conclusion was reached.

The hearing began at 10:30 am on Tuesday and later, the court directed all parties to submit their written submissions by 2 pm.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Pilot and the other Congress legislators, concluded arguments for the petitioners.

The dissident MLAs had moved the court on Friday amid the infighting in the state unit of the Congress, as chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Pilot tussled for power.

The bench also allowed the application of intervener Public Against Corruption (PAC), an NGO, during the hearing. The NGO had filed the application on Monday.

A Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting also began on Tuesday at a hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur. This is its third meeting in the last one week.

Counsel for the speaker Abhishek Singhvi on Monday argued that the petition was premature as a decision was yet to be taken on disqualifying the MLAs from the House. There is no scope for interference by a court over the show-cause notices issued by the speaker, he had said.

The speaker is supreme as far as the legislative assembly is concerned and the notices have been issued within the purview of the speaker's power, Singhvi had said.

He had argued that there was no requirement to record reasons as it was merely a show-cause notice.

The notices to the MLAs were served after the party complained to the speaker that the lawmakers had defied a whip to attend two CLP meetings last week on Monday and Tuesday.

The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session.

In its complaint to the 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 that they represent in the House.

Pilot was sacked as the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and the president of the state Congress unit after he rebelled against Gehlot.

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