JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday resumed hearing a petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the assembly Speaker.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the Speaker, argued that the petition was premature as a decision was yet to be taken on disqualifying the MLAs from the House. He said that there was no scope for interference by a court over the show cause notices issued by the Speaker.
The pilot camp moved court on Friday amid the infighting in the state unit of the Congress, as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot tussled for power. The petition was taken up a by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta.
On Friday, the court heard arguments by the dissidents' advocate Harish Salve. The proceedings resumed on Monday morning and continued after a lunch break. The notices to the MLAs were served after their party complained to the Speaker that they had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings last week.
However, the Pilot camp argues that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session. In its complaint to the speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
The provision disqualifies MLAs if they "voluntarily give up the membership of the party that they represent in the House. Pilot was sacked as the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and the president of the state Congress unit after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Speaker C P Joshi has given the rebel MLAs up to 5:30 pm to reply to disqualification notices, which the dissident camp wants the court to quash.