Speaker CP Joshi
Speaker CP Joshi
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[Rajasthan Political Crisis] "Direct intrusion by High Court into domain exclusively reserved for Speaker": Fresh SLP moved in Supreme Court

This fresh plea has been filed two days after Joshi withdrew the earlier plea filed against the Rajasthan High Court order "directing" the Speaker to refrain from going ahead with disqualification proceedings.

Debayan Roy

Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Dr CP Joshi has once again moved the Supreme Court, now assailing the Rajasthan High Court's verdict "interdicting" him from proceeding with the disqualification petitions against Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs.

This fresh plea has been filed two days after Joshi withdrew the earlier plea filed against the Rajasthan High Court order "directing" the Speaker to refrain from going ahead with disqualification proceedings.

On July 24, the High Court ordered status quo on disqualification notices against Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress legislators. The Court had also directed Speaker Joshi to defer disqualification proceedings till its final verdict in the case.

The July 24 order came after the High Court agreed make the Centre a party to the case, as was prayed for by one of the MLAs. This plea was moved on the ground that the Tenth Schedule’s constitutional validity was under challenge and, therefore, the Centre was a necessary party to the case.

In this fresh Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the July 24 judgment of the High Court, Speaker Joshi states that the High Court order was an "unconstitutional quia timet final order."

The petition argues that the impugned order is ex facie unconstitutional and in the teeth of the law declared in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu. The fresh SLP states,

"The impugned order restraining the Speaker from performing his constitutional duties under the Tenth Schedule is a direct intrusion by the High Court into the domain exclusively reserved for the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution."

Plea filed in Supreme Court

The petition filed through Advocate Sunil Fernandes states that halting the Speaker from operating at the stage of notice itself was a violation of the established Supreme Court precedent, and a direct interference in the ‘proceedings of the House’ under Para 6(2) of the Tenth Schedule, which is prohibited under Article 212 of the Constitution.

The SLP, in a nutshell, states that the Speaker's final decision under the Tenth Schedule is amenable to judicial review and before the final decision, quia timet (injunctive) action against the Speaker is totally barred.

The only exception carved out is where interim orders are passed by the Speaker disqualifying or suspending a member.

The plea argues that in the present case, there is no interim disqualification, as the Speaker has only issued a notice under Rule 7(4) of the Rajasthan Assembly Disqualification Rules, 1989, calling for comments.

The petition also states that whether non-attendance of meeting or criticism of the original party constitutes grounds for disqualification is something the Speaker will decide on a case-to-case basis.

The rebel MLAs had 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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