Pilot, dissident MLAs get 4-day breather: Speaker’s action on hold till Tuesday evening

Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress dissident MLAs on Friday got a four-day reprieve from any action by the assembly Speaker on the disqualification notices served on them, after the Rajasthan High Court extended its hearing on the issue to next week.
The division bench of the court, hearing the dissident MLAs petition against the Speaker’s notices, adjourned Friday evening. It fixed the next hearing for 10 am on Monday.
The counsel for the Speaker assured the court that no order shall be passed on the notice till 5.30 pm on Tuesday.
Earlier, Speaker C P Joshi had written to the court that the notices will not be acted upon till 5 pm on Friday. The counsel agreed to extend this to 5 pm on Tuesday as the court is yet to give an order on the petition.
The petition had challenged the notices based on a Congress complaint that the MLAs should be disqualified from the Rajasthan Assembly for defying a party whip.
The court of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta also asked Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi, who had filed the complaint before the Speaker, to respond to the dissidents’ petition by Saturday.
The Pilot camp has argued that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session.
In its complaint to the Speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
The provision disqualifies MLAs if they ‘voluntarily’ give up the membership of the party which they represent in the House.
They Congress claims that this is the inference that can be drawn from the MLAs’ conduct. But the dissident camp says Pilot never indicated any intention to leave the party.
Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the president of the state unit of the party after he rebelled against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.