The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stop a verdict on a petition filed by 19 rebel Congress MLAs from Rajasthan challenging their disqualification notices. Rajasthan Assembly Speaker, Dr CP Joshi, who served the notices last week, argued that the rebels cannot petition the High Court before any action.
Senior Congress leader and lawyer, Kapil Sibal, who appeared on behalf of Rajasthan Assembly speaker CP Joshi, told the top court that courts could intervene only when the Speaker takes a decision to either suspend or disqualify a member of the House. Rajasthan High Court might announce its verdict on Friday but will be subjected to the final order of the apex court.
Here's a lowdown on top 10 developments so far in this story:
- Voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be shut down, Justice AK Mishra argued while questioning the Rajasthan Assembly speaker Dr CP Joshi on the reasons behind disqualification proceedings against 19 defiant Congress MLAs, including sacked Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and State Congress Chief, Sachin Pilot.
- The Supreme Court asked Kapil Sibal, "It is the matter of just one day, why can't you wait?" The apex court told Sibal to be patient as this is a lengthy matter and people involved are democratically elected representatives. Sibal also asked HC to quash the HC order, but the top court stated that the order needs to be examined.
- Supreme Court will give the final verdict on this matter on Monday, i.e., July 26. The Supreme Court has allowed the Rajasthan High Court to deliver its verdict but that will be subject to the final order of the top court.
- Speaker CP Joshi had served notices to 19 diffident MLAs, including sacked Rajasthan Deputy CM, Sachin Pilot after they failed to attend two meetings of Congress MLAs chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
- Rebel Congress leaders argue that they don't want to leave the party and only want a change in old leadership. As a rejoinder, Kapil Sibal stated that their act of not participating in the meetings meant giving up the party membership.
- Assembly speaker Dr CP Joshi cannot take any call on the disqualification proceedings against the MLAs till the Supreme Court delivers its final verdict.
- Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of the Sachin Pilot camp, argued that Speaker Joshi had himself postponed the proceedings twice in the past. Further tearing into Rajasthan Assembly Speaker's arguments, Salve argued that issues of jurisdiction and maintainability have been argued before the High Court.
- Rajasthan Assembly Speaker's unexpected move to seek the Supreme Court's intervention is a clear reflection of the Congress' worry that a favorable verdict for the rebels may jeopardize its own government in the state.
- The Chief Minister accused his deputy, Sachin Pilot of conspiring with the Bharatiya Janata Party to bring his government down similar to what Jyotiraditya Scindia did to the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh.
- In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ashok Gehlot wrote, "At a time when our priority should be to save lives and livelihoods of the masses, the Centre has become the main conspirator in toppling a state government."