Pilot camp moves High Court, challenges disqualification notices sent to rebel MLAs
The rebel Congress legislators led by former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot have approached the Jaipur High Court challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by Assembly speaker, CP Joshi.
The Gehlot vs Pilot battle in Rajasthan seems to be far from over. The rebel faction led by former Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot has now approached the Jaipur High Court challenging the notices issued to them by the assembly speaker.
On Thursday, the rebel Congress MLAs challenged the validity of the notices issued under Article 191 of the Constitution and the Rajasthan anti-deflection law. The Rajasthan High Court is expected to hear the petition filed by the dissident legislators on Thursday afternoon.
The plea against the disqualification notices sent from the Speaker’s office to Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs will be heard by Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.
On Wednesday, the Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi had sent notices to 19 rebel MLAs after the chief whip Mahesh Joshi complained that these legislators had defied the party whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings.
The legislators have been asked to respond to the notice by July 17, failing which the speaker could take unilateral action against them.
The move was seen as the last resort applied by the Congress party to quell the revolt in the Rajasthan unit.
In the first round of bouts between Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Pilot, the Gehlot camp have managed to strengthen its hold in the Congress governed state. Not only was Pilot removed from the office of Deputy CM, but the post of Rajasthan Congress president was also taken away from him. His close aides such as Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena have been sacked from the Gehlot cabinet.
The disqualification notice issued against the dissident MLAs was the final blow to the Pilot camp. If they fail to get relief from the HC, the rebel legislators will run the risk of losing their membership unless they toe the Congress’ line.
Update: Rajasthan HC hearing
During the hearing, the Rajasthan HC granted time to Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs to file an amended petition challenging the disqualification notices. Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Pilot camp, sought time to amend the petition.
Salve argued that the MLAs wanted to challenge the constitutional validity of the notices and needed some time to file it afresh.
The matter would now be heard by the division bench of the HC.