Jaipur:The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday reserved the verdict on Congress rebels' plea against disqualification for July 24, while asking the Speaker not to take any action till that time.
Earlier, the divisional bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta had asked Speaker C P Joshi to wait till July 21, before coming to any decision.
Former Deputy Chief Ministerof Rajasthan Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs had knocked the doors of the High Court with a writ petition, after they received a notice from the Speaker individually over disqualification. The notice was served under the Anti-Defection law, mentioned in the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
The law prevents political defections, prompted by the lure of office, material benefits or similar considerations. It ensures that a party member does not violate the mandate and in case he does so, he will lose his membership of the House.
Interestingly, the notice was issued just hours after the rebels skipped the Congress Legislature Meeting in Jaipur and remained cemented in ITC Hotel at Manesar.
In the courtroom, noted Advocate Harish Salve and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the petitioner, contended that if the Speaker acts against anyone raising voice against the party's chief, it means curbing the rights of the dissidents.
They said until a dissident supports or joins another party, it is not the violation of anti-defection law. Mr Salve said defection is when "one leaves party A and joins party B". Intra-party differences can not be called an act of defection.
Also, any party person has the right to defy the whip outside the Floor of House, Mr Salve told the court. Moreover, if only notice is issued, that does not mean it is not a violation of Freedom of Speech, he added.(UNI)