Advocates representing MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala, who cross-voted in the recent Rajya Sabha elections, on Monday sought time from the division bench of the Gujarat High Court to file a written response to the petitions filed by the Congress challenging the Assembly speaker’s acceptance of the MLAs’ resignation.
The division bench headed by Justice S R Brahmbhatt granted time till August 29 in this regard. The response is expected to be submitted on or before August 27.
Congress whip Ashwin Kotwal had moved the two petitions in the high court earlier this month. Advocate Chintan Champaneri, representing Kotwal, also made oral submissions during the hearing, seeking that the notification accepting their resignations be set aside and the two MLAs be disqualified.
Notably, Congress had moved a petition ahead of the Rajya Sabha poll, seeking disqualification of Radhanpur MLA Alpesh Thakor. A division bench of the Gujarat High Court had dismissed it on July 2. Congress then sought the court’s direction to limit a time-frame for the Speaker within which he must act on the disqualification application and had relied on certain rules as under disqualification on the ground of defection, citing the rule to be a directory in nature.
The court noted that such rules have been framed to regulate the procedure that is to be followed by the Speaker for exercising the powers conferred on him and it was only procedural in nature, violation of which would amount to an irregularity in procedure but is otherwise immune from judicial scrutiny.