A mini win for Sachin Pilot in Supreme Court, over to HC tomorrow
The plea filed by Rajasthan speaker CP Joshi challenged the state high court order of July 21 which had asked the speaker to defer action on his notice to Pilot and other rebel MLAs till July 24.Updated: Jul 23, 2020 18:07 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Rajasthan high court to pass orders tomorrow on a plea by rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs challenging the speaker’s disqualification notice, setting aside speaker CP Joshi’s request for a stay on the proceedings.
“Can a person elected by people not express his dissent? Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed. In a democracy, can somebody be shut down like this?” Justice Arun Misha, heading the Supreme Court bench, asked Kapil Sibal, who is representing the speaker.
The plea filed by Rajasthan speaker CP Joshi challenged the state high court order of July 21 which had asked the speaker to defer action on his notice to Pilot and other rebel MLAs till July 24, arguing that the court’s intervention was premature as he is yet to decide on the issue of disqualification and has only issued notices.
The Pilot camp filed a caveat petition in the court, saying nothing should be done without notifying them first. The group has argued that if a group of MLAs raises its voice against the style of the CM’s functioning it cannot be termed defection. It further argued that the party whip applies only when the assembly is in session and issuing such a notice is a violation of their freedom of expression.
The Congress requested the speaker to initiate proceedings after the Pilot camp absented itself from two Congress Legislature Party meetings.
The speaker had argued that the notice issued to the MLAs was in the realm of legislative proceedings under the Tenth Schedule and said the judicial review of an ongoing anti-defection proceedings was limited. It further argued that the high court order on holding off action against the rebels amounted to violation of Article 212 (courts not to enquire into the proceedings of the legislature).
The SC bench, however, said that the matter in the Rajasthan high court will be subject to the proceedings before the apex court.
“The case requires prolonged hearing. It involves the very question of democracy itself,” said justice Arun Mishra.
The top court will consider the question of whether courts can interfere with the disqualification proceedings initiated by the speaker at an interim stage before the speaker takes a decision on the disqualification plea.
“We will hear only on the question of whether the court can interfere with the speaker’s proceedings or not. We will not go into whether the speaker acted mala fide or bona fide. We cannot go into that”, the Supreme Court said.
The matter will be heard again on July 27.