Chief Whip of the Congress Legislature Party in Rajasthan Assembly Mahesh Joshi has moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s July 24 order asking the Speaker to maintain “status quo” on the question of disqualification of 19 rebel Congress MLAs.
The plea said the High Court had “exceeded its jurisdiction “and that its order “impinges upon the domain of the legislature”.
Joshi said the HC order “is exfacie unconstitutional, illegal and in the teeth of the law laid down” by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1992 in the case Kihoto Hollohan vs. Zachillhu.
He said the writ petition filed by the rebel MLAs in the HC “was totally non maintainable and premature”. It “sought to challenge only a notice dated 14.07.2020 issued by the Speaker calling for comments of the Respondents on the disqualification petitions filed against them under… the Tenth Schedule”, he said, adding “there was absolutely no adverse order of any kind against the Respondents and as such the Writ Petition… was completely non maintainable”.
Their writ petition sought to raise the question of constitutional validity of Para 2(1)(a) of Tenth Schedule, which was already settled by the Supreme Court in the Kihoto case, Joshi said.
It was on disqualification petitions filed by Joshi that the Speaker issued the notices to rebel MLAs.
On this, Joshi said the petitions filed by him “make out a primary facie case against” the MLAs “of voluntary giving up membership of the party under para 2(1)(A)” of the Tenth Schedule.
Substantiating this, he said “grave and sinister attempts were being made by” them “to break the ranks of the INC and topple the duly elected INC Government in the State of Rajasthan”.
The rebels “had deliberately absented themselves from two crucial CLP meetings held on 13.07.20 and 14.07.20 despite repeated reminders and notices”, he said, adding “the media was rife with vociferous demands by” the MLAs “calling for a floor test against their own Government”.
They even claimed that “the INC Government had cheated the people of Rajasthan”. They “had become inaccessible to the Party leadership by going incommunicado and were enjoying the hospitality of the State BJP Government in Haryana at a resort in Manesar (Haryana)”, Joshi said.
The chief whip said he had “asserted” before the HC that the rebels “are acting in concert with the BJP… and there are serious attempts being made by” them “to offer allurements and bribes to members of the INC to switch support to the BJP”.
Joshi said such “conduct” of the MLAs “reveals grossest form of defection under Para 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule”.
On July 29, Assembly Speaker C P Joshi too had moved the SC against the HC order.
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