NEW DELHI: The
on Thursday said that the
Rajasthan high court
can pass an order on rebel Congress MLAs plea against the disqualification notice served to them by Rajasthan Assembly
Speaker CP Joshi
A three-judge bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari was hearing a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Speaker against the Rajasthan High Court’s interim order on a plea of former deputy chief minister
and 18 MLA of his camp.
The apex court said that voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be shut down, however, added that the HC order will not be implemented as it is seized of the question raised by Speaker on the HC jurisdiction to entertain plea against Speaker’s notice to rebel Congress MLAs.
The top court observed that the issue is tricky and needs prolonged hearing. “Let this matter be heard at length,” the SC told Speaker’s counsel
“It is an important question relating to the future of democracy — whether dissenting views could be silenced through disqualification proceedings initiated by Speaker. This needs to be decided,” the SC added.
Rajasthan political crisis live updates
The Speaker told SC that he would not proceed with the hearing on disqualification pleas against 19 rebel MLAs, including Sachin Pilot till the SC decides on the issue.
The Supreme Court said that it would start day-to-day hearing from Monday on the Speaker’s plea questioning Rajasthan HC’s jurisdiction and the ancillary question of silencing dissent with disqualification.
Earlier in the day, Kapil Sibal, appearing for Joshi, listed the reasons for starting disqualification proceedings and said that these MLAs did not attend party meetings and conspired to destabilise their own government.
“It is not in the jurisdiction of the court. The Rajasthan high court was wrong in issuing a direction to the Speaker. This is against settled law on this point. The high court had no jurisdiction until Speaker decided on the plea of Pilot and other MLAs’ anti-defection proceedings,” Sibal submitted.
Sibal submitted that the Speaker’s decision on disqualification is subject to judicial review but added that nothing has happened yet. He said that the judicial review is possible only after a person is disqualified or suspended.
“Judicial review is not permissible at a stage prior to the making of a decision by the Speaker. Prior to a decision, there can not be any interference (by the court), unless there is a suspension or disqualification,” Sibal said.
The bench enquired Sibal about the grounds on which disqualification was sought?
Responding to the query, Sibal said, “The MLAs didn’t attend party meetings. They are indulging in anti-party activities. They gave interviews that they want a floor test. They are in a hotel in Haryana, incommunicado. This all led to actions meaning they want to part ways from the party.”
The Rajasthan High Court had on Tuesday asked Speaker CP Joshi to defer the proceedings pending before him on the disqualification notices issued to Pilot and 18 MLAs of his faction, and put off the verdict on the matter to till July 24.
Joshi had earlier sent notices to Pilot and 18 MLAs under the anti-defection law after the chief whip’s application for their disqualification. MLAs were earlier asked to present before Assembly Speaker on July 17, but the same was deferred in view of the hearing before the High Court.
The development had come even as
is in turmoil after simmering differences between Pilot and chief minister
came out in the open.
(With inputs from agencies)
In Video:Rajasthan crisis: HC can pass order on Congress MLAs’ plea against speaker notice, says SC