The Uttarakhand high court will hear on Saturday a petition filed by rebel Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification under the anti-defection law by the speaker.
Justice U C Dhyani of the high court had on Thursday posted for hearing on Saturday an urgent application moved by rebel MLAs Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’, Subodh Uniyal and Shailarani Rawat.
The nine rebel Congress MLAs, who were disqualified by speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal on March 27, have filed two separate petitions in the court challenging the speaker’s action against them.
While senior Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal and Amit Sibal have represented the Speaker before the single bench, C A Sundaram, L Nageshwar Rao, Dinesh Dwivedi and Rajeshwar Singh are arguing on behalf of the rebel MLAs.
The status of the MLAs will be crucial in case the high court’s order asking former chief minister Harish Rawat to go for a floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly is endorsed by the Supreme Court.
These MLAs had sided with BJP to demand a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill in the Uttarakhand Assembly.
If the Speaker’s action is upheld and they remain disqualified, the effective strength of the House will be reduced from 70 to 61 in which any party mustering the support of 31 MLAs will have the majority.
Both Congress and BJP have 27 MLAs of their own.
While BJP claims the support of the nine Congress rebels who stand disqualified on date, Congress has the support of the six-member People’s Democratic Front, a combine of BSP and Independent MLAs.