SC allows Rajasthan Speaker to withdraw plea against High Court order

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In a new twist to the Rajasthan political drama, Assembly Speaker C P Joshi on Monday withdrew his petition before the Supreme Court against the July 21 state high court order restraining him from going ahead with the disqualification proceedings against 19 rebel Congress MLAs, including sacked Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, allowed Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi to withdraw his petition. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing him, said after the July 24 order of the high court, the July 21 interim order under challenge had become infructuous.

“We have to weigh our legal options on what to do next,” Sibal told the Bench.

The HC had passed the July 24 order after the top court refused to stay its July 21 order directing the Speaker not to take any coercive action concerning the disqualification notices issued to rebel Congress MLAs.

Sibal said the July 21 order, which was challenged in the SC, has “merged” with the High Court’s subsequent order of July 24, making it infructuous.

The Bench allowed Joshi to withdraw his Special Leave Petition with the liberty to file a fresh one keeping all grounds open.

The Supreme Court had on July 23 refused to restrain the Rajasthan HC from passing orders on rebel Congress MLAs’ plea against the disqualification proceedings initiated against them by the Speaker.

Raising issues of intra-party democracy, the top court had agreed to hear the Speaker’s petition against the July 21 order of the HC. Dissenting voice can’t be shut in a democracy, it had said.

A day after the SC order, the HC ordered status quo on the disqualification notices, effectively restraining the Speaker from going ahead with the disqualification proceedings against the rebel Congress MLAs.

It had also allowed adding the Union of India as a party as the petitioners have challenged certain provisions of the anti-defection law i.e the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

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