Rajasthan High Court gets go ahead to deliver judgement on plea by Pilot and other MLAs over disqualification

Last Updated 23 July 2020, 08:35 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that democracy would be shut down if people, including MLAs elected on a party ticket, couldn't raise a voice of dissent.

Refusing any relief to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari said the MLAs are elected by the people and they should be allowed to express dissent.

The court allowed the Rajasthan High Court to pronounce its judgement as per schedule on July 24 on a plea by sacked deputy CM Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs against the disqualification notice.

The court refused to pass any interim order on a plea by Speaker Joshi against the High Court's direction of July 21. The High Court had then asked the Speaker not to pass any order on the disqualification notice issued to Pilot and his supporting legislators until the final judgement was pronounced on July 24.

Pilot and other MLAs were issued notice by the Speaker on July 14 after they failed to attend meeting of the Congress Legislature party. They were apparently aggrieved with leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. They then moved the HC against the disqualification notice.

As the Speaker questioned HC's interference into the disqualification proceedings, the top court's bench said the matter required detailed hearing as it raised serious questions on the voice of dissent in a democracy.

Joshi, led by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, contended the HC can't interdict in disqualification proceedings which was an exclusive domain of the Legislature, as held by the Constitution bench in Kihoto Hollohan (1992) followed consistently till as recently as in the Keisham Meghachandra Singh case (2020).

Appearing for Pilot and other MLAs, senior advocate Harish Salve said the Speaker himself had deferred the proceedings twice. The issue of jurisdiction and maintainability of Pilot and other MLAs' writ petition has been argued before the HC.

Having appeared and argued before the HC, the Speaker can't now ask the High Court not to decide the matter, Salve submitted.

On this, Sibal asked for the High Court proceedings be stayed since the issue of jurisdiction was raised . He submitted that the Speaker would not take any decision till the matter is pending here.

The court, however, declined the request.

"Let the HC pronounce the judgement on Friday. The HC's judgement would be subject to the final outcome of the proceedings here," the bench said, posting the Speaker's petition for further hearing on Monday, July 27.

(Published 23 July 2020, 08:22 IST)

Follow us on