Rajasthan Speaker withdraws plea from SC on disqualification case

Some of the party members feel it is better to withdraw the case and handle the matter politically

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear the Speaker's plea at 11 am on Monday (July 27). Photo: PTI (File)

Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi withdrew his plea in the Supreme Court on Monday (July 27) against the Rajasthan High Court’s order preventing him to issue disqualification notices to Sachin Pilot the 18 dissident MLAs.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Speaker, CP Joshi, submitted before a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that legal issues in the 32-page long detailed order passed by the Rajasthan HC on July 24, merged with those which the Supreme Court was proposing to consider.

“So kindly permit us to withdraw this plea”, Sibal said. “We have to weight our legal options on what do next,”he said.

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Following this the bench allowed them to withdraw the plea.

While withdrawing the plea, Sibal told the bench that the appeal had become infructuous as the apex court did not stay the earlier high court order passed on July 21 asking the Speaker to defer disqualification proceedings. “The SLP (special leave petition) is withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh SLP and keeping all grounds open,” advocate Sunil Fernandes, who also represents Joshi, said.

The high court had ordered on July 24 maintenance of status quo on the disqualification notice issued by the Speaker to 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including Pilot.

Earlier sources had said the party seemed to be divided on withdrawing the case from the top court, just a day before the case is expected to be heard. Some of the party members feel it is better to withdraw and handle the matter politically, while the others want to pursue the legal battle in the top court.

The case pertains to Rajasthan Speaker C.P Joshi challenging the Rajasthan High Court order, restricting him from issuing notices on the disqualification petitions against rebel Congress MLAs. The order protecting Sachin Pilot’s team came after they went to the HC challenging the disqualification notices. The court ruled that no action shall be taken against them until the larger constitutional question regarding the Speaker’s powers is decided.

The chief minister had earlier approached governor Kalraj Mishra requesting to convene the assembly several times and asking to conduct a floor test. He was turned down the first time citing the pendency of MLAs disqualification case in court. The governor even questioned what was the necessity for a floor test if the government was confident of having majority.

Gehlot on Sunday submitted a revised proposal to Governor Kalraj Mishra, urging him to start a session of the state assembly from July 31. The proposal reportedly doesn’t talk about the floor test and instead mentions discussion of bills including one on the COVID-19 situation. The second proposal was turned down too

Gehlot is engaged in a power tussle with his former deputy Sachin Pilot. While Pilot has the allegiance of 18 MLAs, Gehlot claims to have the support of more than 100 MLAs in the 200-member Assembly. The chief minister has been demanding the convening of an assembly session to be able to prove his majority.

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