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Status quo in disqualification process of Pilot, MLAs: Raj Cong chief whip moves SC

New Delhi: Rajasthan Congress Chief whip Mahesh Joshi on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order asking the speaker to defer disqualification proceeding against sacked deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs, saying they indulged in the grossest form of defection by making grave and sinister attempts to topple the Ashok Gehlot government.

The chief whip, who moved the top court two days after the assembly speaker CP Joshi filed the appeal against the July 24 Rajasthan High Court order, was very critical of the judicial intervention into the disqualification proceedings and said that the order was ex-facie unconstitutional and amounted to an intrusion into the domain of speaker's power under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

The impugned order of the High Court directing status quo (on disqualification proceedings against dissident MLAs) has the effect of emasculating the provision of of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution itself, said the plea which was settled by senior advocate Devadutt Kamat and filed through lawyer Varun Chopra.

Justifying the disqualification plea moved before the Speaker, the party chief whip referred to the alleged sequence of events relating to Pilot and his loyal MLAs and said, That grave and sinister attempts were being made by the Respondents to break the ranks of the Indian National Congress (INC) and topple the duly elected INC Government in the State of Rajasthan.

The Respondents (Pilot and others) had deliberately absented themselves from two crucial CLP meetings held on July 13 and July 14 despite repeated reminders and notices and the media was rife with vociferous demands by the Respondents calling for a floor test against their own Government. The Respondents had even gone as far as alleging that the INC Government had cheated the people of Rajasthan.

Assailing the High Court order, the plea said that the order of status quo' on disqualification process against the MLAs was exfacie unconstitutional, illegal and in the teeth of the law laid down by this court in the Kihoto Hollohan case in which the power of the speaker has been discussed.

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