Rajasthan Crisis: SC Doesn’t Stay HC Order, to Hear Case on Monday

The Supreme Court told Speaker’s counsel Kapil Sibal it is keen on hearing the “matters of democracy at length.”

3 min read
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Ex-Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

In a relief for rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s camp, the Supreme Court on Thursday, 23 July, allowed the Rajasthan High Court to pass orders, as scheduled, on the petition filed against the Speaker’s disqualification notice.

Noting that these are “important matters of democracy,” the top court said it will begin hearing the Speaker’s plea against the high court’s earlier order to defer disqualification from Monday, 27 July, on a day-to-day basis.

Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi had on Wednesday, moved the Supreme Court against “interference” of the high court after it directed a stay on the disqualification proceedings against MLAs of the Sachin Pilot camp.


SC Keen on Hearing 'Matters of Democracy at Length'

The bench noted that this matter has to be heard at length, and this will require detailed hearing. "Your questions require lengthy hearing," the bench told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi.

Sibal contended that the apex court should suspend the high court order.

The bench replied that that is what they need to examine.

Sibal replied that the apex court should then transfer the high court petition here. The bench said: "Not now". Sibal asked the top court for an order to stay any further proceedings before the high court.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Pilot, questioned the "political overtones" of the Speaker. "If Speaker can himself agree to defer twice, why can't he wait for another 24 hours?" Rohatgi argued.

The apex court observed that these are important questions relating to democracy.“How will the democracy function? These are very serious issues. We want to hear it,” said the bench.

‘Immune to Pain’: Sibal & Mishra Share a Light Moment

Amid the intense back and forth, Sibal and Justice Mishra also shared a light moment with the latter asking why “Mr Sibal looked pained.” To which Sibal responded, “I'm not pained at all. There's so much going on around, I've stopped feeling pained. I'm happy that Mr Salve is smiling.”

Senior advocate Harish Salve is representing the Pilot camp.

Background of the Case

CP Joshi had told news agency ANI, “The Speaker has the complete authority to send a show-cause notice. I have asked my counsel to file SLP in Supreme Court.”

“Speaker's responsibilities are well-defined by the Supreme Court and the Constitution. As Speaker, I got an application and to seek information on it, I issued show-cause notice. If show-cause notice will not be issued by authority, then what is the work of the authority?” Joshi had said.

Soon after, the Sachin Pilot camp filed a caveat petition in the apex court, asking for no order to be passed on the Speaker's petition without hearing them.

Joshi’s move came after the Rajasthan HC, on Tuesday, asked the Assembly Speaker to not take any action against former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs till the court has pronounced a verdict. The final order is slated to be pronounced on Friday, 24 July.

After Sachin Pilot, along with the other MLAs, rebelled against his own government led by Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Joshi had issued a show-cause notice. Pilot’s camp had challenged the disqualification proceedings in the Rajasthan High Court on 16 July.

During a hearing of the case in HC, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing on behalf of the Speaker, had argued that the petition of the Pilot faction is premature and hence, should be dismissed.

Singhvi, according to ANI, had stated that the Speaker’s order can be challenged only on limited grounds, and those grounds were not in the petition.

Harish Salve and Mukul Rastogi, senior advocates appearing for the Pilot camp, had argued that the petitioners had neither defected from the party nor given up their membership, and that the Speaker was acting with “mala fides,” reported Live Law.

(With IANS inputs)

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