Congress whip, Mahesh Joshi moves SC over ‘status quo’ order of Rajasthan HC in Sachin Pilot case

The Chief Whip of Congress legislative party in Rajasthan, Mahesh Joshi has moved Supreme Court on Friday evening, challenging the 24 July order of Rajasthan High court, which stayed proceedings on disqualification petitions against 19 rebel MLA.

Joshi has challenged the 24 July order wherein the High court had passed a ‘status quo’ order, interdicting the Speaker from proceeding to adjudicate the disqualification petitions pending before him, under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Joshi has questioned the maintainability of the plea filed by Pilot and group stating that the plea has been filed on “show cause notice” issued by the Speaker, which was not adverse.

As per the petitioner, the order directing ‘status quo’ in relation to the proceedings before the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule is constitutionally impermissible and is directly in contravention of the settled legal position in the apex court judgement of Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillhu case, of 1992. The petitioner stated that in the Kihoto case a constitution bench of the apex court had said that a judicial review “will not be available at a stage prior to a decision by the Speaker or chairman”. The plea also claims that the order is completely non reasoned and does not reveal any reasons for passing the status quo order.

He further claims the anti-party activities of Pilot and other rebel MLAs make a prima-facie case of defection.

An application for interim relief has also been filed seeking stay on the 24 July order of the high court till the pendency of the case before the top court.

The HC ordered status quo on disqualification notices issued against the legislators. The order came after the HC agreed to Pilot’s plea to make Centre a party in the case. Pilot moved the plea on the ground that the Tenth Schedule’s constitutional validity was under challenge and therefore the Centre was a necessary party to the case.

The High court had also framed 13 legal issues for consideration and has held that the writ petition is maintainable. It had also dismissed the preliminary objections raised by Speaker against hearing the petition filed by Sachin Pilot camp.

On 14 July, the Congress party dropped Pilot from the Rajasthan Cabinet and also removed him from the post of party’s state unit head. The move followed Pilot skipping a party meeting, the second in two days.

The ruling Congress in the state had sought the disqualification of the members on the ground of “anti-party activities”.

The rebel MLAs have argued before the high court that the notice issued under the provisions of the Constitution are bad in law and should be quashed. Further, they claimed they have not been given sufficient time to reply to the notice.

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