Gehlot’s Cabinet to Meet Shortly, May Call Assembly Session as HC Grants Pilot Relief Till Friday

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After the Rajasthan High Court reserved its order on the petition filed by dissident Congress MLAs challenging the disqualification notice served by the Speaker, a decision to call a session of the state assembly may be taken at a cabinet meeting called by CM Ashok Gehlot.

However, the session may not necessarily be called for a trust vote or for proving majority on the floor of the house. The state cabinet may call the session to discuss any other issues, including the prevailing pandemic situation in the state.

A whip to all the MLAs can be issued by the chief whip to attend the session, forcing the rebel MLAs, who have been near Delhi since last week, to return. The whip is valid on all the MLAs, including the 18 in the Pilot camp. Two rebel MLAs have been suspended by the party.

The party can again move the Speaker for any violation of the whip that includes abstention from the house. The other option to call the house and seek trust vote to show numbers on the floor.

The Rajasthan High Court had on Monday observed that a whip can be issued only for an Assembly session but not with respect to a party meeting. The dissident MLAs had argued that there were no grounds to disqualify them just for missing two meetings of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

The high court has reserved its order on the pleas challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Speaker and directed that not action be taken against any MLA in the Sachin Pilot camp till July 24.

Team Pilot had challenged the disqualification notices served by the Speaker last week for "anti-party activities". Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the MLAs, said the Speaker had shown ‘tearing hurry’ and given no reasons while serving notices to disqualify Sachin Pilot and others after they skipped two meetings.

“In the middle of the pandemic, only three days' time was given to the MLAs to respond to the notice. The reading of these facts leaves no manner of doubt that the decision (to suspend MLAs) is a foregone conclusion," Rohatgi said.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Speaker, said the rebels cannot approach the court before any action. "The rebels don't have grounds to question the Speaker until the Speaker gives a decision. The Speaker and the assembly are not in the judicial purview of the court for now," said Mr Singhvi.