Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday reserved its judgement on the plea filed by rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs against their disqualification notices, Live Law reported. The final verdict will now be delivered on July 24.
Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta asked the Speaker to not take a decision on the disqualification notices till the final verdict. The time given to the rebel lawmakers to reply was set to expire at 5.30 pm on Tuesday.
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Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Pilot and the rebel legislators, argued that less time was granted to them to submit their response than as stated in the rules. “The proceedings reek of malafides,” he said. “Mind you, we are in the middle of Covid-19 and only three days time [has been] given for reply.”
Rohatgi added that according to the legislative rules of the Assembly, a response can be given “within seven days or such extended period as may be”. “Normal manner of construction is that Speaker can extend time for reply,” he argued. “If that is the scheme, why the Speaker granted only three days time for reply?”
The advocate contended that these factors show “mala fides on the part of the Speaker” who is “acting with a foregone conclusion in mind”. “There is a clear case of breach of principles of natural justice, especially when the consequences of the notice are drastic, not just the disqualification of members, but adverse impact on a functioning democracy,” he said. “The Speaker was acting with undue haste. The Speaker has not given any satisfactory explanation before the Court about his actions.”