Supreme Court of India. [File Photo]
Supreme Court of India. [File Photo]

Rajasthan HC had no jurisdiction before decision on disqualification notice: Speaker tells SC

ANI | Updated: Jul 23, 2020 12:51 IST

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Speaker CP Joshi on Thursday submitted before the Supreme Court that Rajasthan High Court had no jurisdiction to intervene on the disqualification notice issued to Sachin Pilot and other MLAs until a decision was taken on the same.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Joshi, submitted that the court cannot direct the Speaker to extend the time for the MLAs to file their replies on the anti-defection notices.
"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.
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 Sachin Pilot and 18 MLA of his camp.
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."
He said that the grievance of the Speaker is purely constitutional.
Justice Mishra asked Sibal if a person elected by the people cannot express his dissent. "Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed. In a democracy can somebody be shut down like this?" Justice Mishra said.
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 Rajasthan Congress is in turmoil after simmering differences between Pilot and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came out in the open. (ANI)