The rebel Congress MLAs of Rajasthan cannot question the Speaker on their disqualification notices and no court can interfere in the matter until the Speaker takes action on the same, argued Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented the Congress during the hearing of the ‘MLA disqualification’ case in the Rajasthan High Court on Monday (July 20).
“The Constitution gives leeway to the Speaker to regulate the procedure. Rules are subordinate to the Constitution. Violation of disqualification rules are procedural and any violation of it immune to judicial review,” LiveLaw quoted Singhvi as saying.
Singhvi was representing Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi, whose notices of disqualification has been challenged by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and the 18 rebel MLAs of the Congress.
A two-judge bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prashant Gupta is hearing the case.
On Friday, the court after hearing the arguments of senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi, who represent Pilot and the dissident MLAs, had deferred the hearing till Monday (July 20), stating that no action can be taken against the petitioners until Tuesday (July 21).
In deference to court orders, Assembly Speaker CP Joshi had said that he would wait until 5.30 pm on Tuesday.
The MLAs had moved court after Joshi issued them notices asking them to reply by July 17, to why they shouldn’t be disqualified for skipping Congress Legislature Party meetings on July 13 and 14.
In their petitions, Pilot and the MLAs had argued that they cannot be disqualified when the Assembly is not in session and that their discontentment over the party leadership cannot be construed as their intention to leave the party under 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
The disqualification of the rebel MLAs would bring down the current majority mark of 200 in the Assembly, making it easier for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who claims to have the support of over 100 MLAs, prove his majority.
Pilot, who broke away from the Gehlot camp demanding the chief minister’s post for himself, has, however, clarified that he is not joining the BJP.