Rajasthan HC orders 'status quo' in Pilot, 18 MLAs disqualification case

Earlier, Rajasthan High Court asked Assembly Speaker CP Joshi to defer the proceedings pending before him on the disqualification notices issued to Pilot and 18 MLAs of his faction and put off the verdict on the matter till July 24.
No action will be taken against dismissed deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and other rebel Congress for now, said the Rajasthan High Court on Friday after the faction's appeal against assembly speaker CP Joshi disqualifying them.

The court said there will be "status quo" until it decides on the rebels' petition against disqualification notices. A verdict on the disqualifications was delayed after the court accepted the Pilot faction appealed to add the central government as a party to the case that raises the legality of lawmakers switching sides or quitting parties, said media reports.

The Supreme Court refused on Thursday to stop the High Court from delivering the verdict that is likely to decide the fate of Congress government in Rajasthan, saying the "voice of dissent" cannot be suppressed in a democracy. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot indicated that he is preparing for a floor test as he met the Governor last evening.

The High Court has asked Joshi to defer action against the rebels. No court can ask him to do that, Joshi had argued in the Supreme Court on Thursday, but there was no decision on it, reported NDTV.

The Supreme Court, which heard the case through video-conferencing, said the issues raised in the Speaker's petition required "prolonged hearing" as it involved a "larger question" related to the democracy and how it will survive. But the court said the high court's ruling would be subject to its final decision.

"Rajasthan High Court has made Centre a party in the case against Congress, in the petition filed by Sachin Pilot and MLAs against disqualification notice. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) will represent Centre in the court," said Prateek Kasliwal, lawyer of Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi.

Earlier, the court asked Speaker Joshi to defer the proceedings pending before him on the disqualification notices issued to Pilot and 18 MLAs of his faction and put off the verdict on the matter till July 24.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court held that the Rajasthan High Court can pass an order on former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and other MLAs' plea against disqualification notice issued against them by the State Assembly Speaker.

Joshi had sent notices to Pilot and 18 MLAs under the anti-defection law after the Congress party's chief whip's application for their disqualification. MLAs were earlier asked to present before Assembly Speaker on July 17, but the same was deferred in view of the hearing before the High Court.

The development had come even as Rajasthan Congress is in turmoil after simmering differences between Pilot and Gehlot came out in the open.


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