Rajasthan High Court Permits Rebel Congress MLAs to Move Amendment Plea

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Rajasthan High Court recently permitted the rebel Congress MLAs to move the amendment plea.

Facts of the Case 

The Rajasthan HC permitted 19 rebel Congress MLAs to move an application. The application challenges the constitutional validity of some provisions (Prithviraj Meena v. The Hon’ble Speaker).

The request for the same was made by the 19 MLAs, led by Prithviraj Meena. The plea challenged the Legislative Assembly Speaker’s July 14 defection notice.

Arguments

Senior Counsels Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the petitioners. Senior Counsel Singhvi and the Advocate General, NK Maloo appeared for the respondents.

The plea was moved following a show-cause notice issued by the Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on July 14. It was issued to the 19 MLAs asking them to explain their anti-party activities.

Pilot and the other 18 Congress MLAs have challenged the notice as being a move of unholy haste which is mala fide and contrary to Assembly rules.

As per the plea, the Speaker, upon receiving the notice, issued notice to all the 19 MLAs on the same day. Speaker asked them to file a reply within two days. The Speaker called for an ex-parte decision from his end if a decision not made by 1pm.

The plea states that this unholy haste on the part of the Speaker is contrary to the assembly rules. A minimum of seven days’ time has to give for a reply.

Court’s Observations

The High Court has been urged to set aside the Speaker’s July 14 show-cause notice. In addition to that, it declares that the MLA’s actions do not constitute defection. Furthermore, it also requests the HC to uphold their status as members of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

Thus, if the rebels avoid disqualification and get clearance to vote as Congress members, the Ashok Gehlot-led government could fall. Therefore, he needs 101 MLAs to vote for him in the 200- member Assembly. Gehlot claims the support of 106 MLAs, which Team Pilot is against.

Hence, if the rebel MLAs are disqualified, the majority mark will drop, making it easier for Ashok Gehlot to win a floor test.

Decision

Therefore, after taking up the plea, Justice Sharma passed the order. Furthermore, he allowed the petitioners to move the amendment application. This was done despite the Advocate’s (Singhvi) vehement objections. Thus, the order passed, states:

“Without expressing any opinion on the contentions put forth by both the sides, let the petition be listed on the filing of the application for amendment of the writ petition.

The court further directed that a copy of the intended application be provided to the learned counsel appearing on behalf of respondents.


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