NEW DELHI: Rajasthan high court on Friday accepted Sachin Pilot‘s plea to make Centre a party in petition filed by former deputy chief minister and 18 Congress MLAs against the disqualification notice served to them by the assembly speaker.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) will represent Centre in the court, according to lawyer of Speaker CP Joshi.
A day earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to restrain the Rajasthan high court from passing order after a plea filed by speaker CP Joshi against the high court’s direction asking Joshi to defer the disqualification proceedings till July 24.
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling, chief minister Ashok Gehlot expressed confidence that he has the required strenght of MLAs to prove a majority on the floor of the state assembly.
Here is a look at top developments —
No action against rebel MLAs for now
In a relief for former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, the high court ordered status quo on a plea by Pilot against the disqualification notices against dissident MLAs.
Rajasthan HC accepts Pilot’s plea to make Centre a party
The Rajasthan high court on Friday allowed the application moved by sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 dissident Congress MLAs seeking impleadment of the Union of India as a party to the proceedings in the disqualification matter.
A bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta allowed the application that was moved by the petitioners on Thursday.
The application for impleadment was moved on the grounds that the constitutional amendment is under challenge and, therefore, the Union of India is a necessary party now.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) will represent Centre in the court, according to lawyer of Speaker CP Joshi.
Assembly session ‘very soon’, says Gehlot
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said his government will soon prove its majority in the assembly, hours before he met the Governor with whom he is said to have discussed calling a session of the House.
“The assembly session will take place soon. The majority is with us, all Congress MLAs are united,” Gehlot told reporters.
He hoped that some of the dissident MLAs, who are led by sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, will also attend the session when it is called “very soon”.
“Without them too, we have a complete majority and will go to the House on the basis of this majority, and we will prove it,” he said.
About three hours after this interaction with the media, Gehlot met Governor Kalraj Mishra at the Raj Bhawan. Congress sources said the two discussed the possibility of calling a session of the Vidhan Sabha.
Supreme Court says Rajasthan high court free to pass order on rebel Congress MLAs
Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi failed to get relief from the Supreme Court on his plea that the Rajasthan high court cannot interdict the disqualification proceedings against 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy CM Sachin Pilot, that he has taken up under anti-defection law. The court observed that “voice of dissent” in a democracy cannot be shut down.
The HC had on July 21 asked him to defer the proceedings till July 24, when it decides on the petition of the rebel MLAs challenging the disqualification notices. However, the apex court added that the HC’s order would be subject to the outcome of the petition before it.
Dissident Congress MLAs wants Centre as responder in HC petition
The dissident MLAs on Thursday also moved an application before the HC to include the Union government in the list of respondents on ground that Tenth Schedule’s constitutional validity was under challenge and therefore, the Centre was a necessary party now.
What if high court allows disqualification of rebel MLAs
The Ashok Gehlot government has a narrow lead in the 200-member assembly. If the HC allows the speaker to disqualify the rebels, the majority mark in the assembly will come down, making it easier for Gehlot to win a trust vote. If the rebels get to vote against the Congress government without being disqualified (defying the whip will lead to disqualification later but their vote will be counted), it may turn into a tough fight for the Congress.
The spat between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his then deputy Sachin Pilot came to light after Special Operation Groups issued notices earlier this month to Gehlot and Pilot to record their statement in connection with the alleged attempts to topple their Congress government. Pilot was apparently miffed with his name figuring in the FIR and launched a revolt by defecting 18 MLAs from the party.
(With inputs from agencies)


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