‘Raj HC exceeded jurisdiction’: Cong chief whip also moves SC

New Delhi, July 31 : After the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker moved the Supreme Court against the state high court’s July 24 order, Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi has also moved the apex court, challenging the order staying proceedings on his petitions seeking disqualification of 19 rebel MLAs, including dropped Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

Joshi contended that it is beyond any pale of doubt that the High Court, by entertaining the plea of the rebel MLAs, at the stage when the Speaker is yet to decide the disqualification petition under Para 6 of the Tenth Schedule, has exceeded its jurisdiction and therefore the impugned interim order deserves to be set aside.

The plea contended that the High Court directing status quo on disqualification proceedings is ex-facie unconstitutional, illegal and in the teeth of the law laid down by the top court in Kihoto Hollohan matter. Joshi insisted the notice issued on July 14 by the Speaker calling for comments of the rebel MLAs on the disqualification petitions filed against them under Para 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule, was not adverse.

As an interim relief, Joshi has urged the apex court to grant stay on the July 24 order of the High Court.

The plea contended that the Speaker has vast jurisdiction to decide whether a person stands disqualified under the Tenth Schedule and he may arrive at such a conclusion by taking the aid of contemporaneous evidence. Joshi insisted that to interdict the Speaker at this stage effaces the very purpose and intent of the Tenth Schedule.

Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi, in his plea, had urged the apex court “to ensure that the authorities under the Constitution, including the judiciary, exercise its jurisdiction within the boundaries and function within their respective ‘Lakshman Rekhas’ envisaged by the Constitution itself.”

His plea said: “It is submitted that the notices dated July 14 impugned in the writ petition merely called upon the 19 delinquent MLAs to furnish their written comments/replies to the allegations levelled against them in the disqualification petitions.”

“It is submitted that the impugned order interdicts the petitioner/Speaker from acting under the Tenth Schedule at the stage of notice itself and restrains him from even proceeding to call for replies/comments from the respondents,” he added.

The Speaker has requested the apex court to rein in the “indiscipline”, contending that the High Court is violating the apex court verdict in Kihito Hollohan matter. “The impugned order of the High Court is 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,” said the plea.