New Delhi, July 24: Former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and other legislators who have rebelled against the Ashok Gehlot government have approached the Supreme Court, requesting it to hear them before deciding on any appeal against the high court order earlier in the day.
The move is seen as one likely to be aimed at pre-empting the Congress which had said on Friday that it will approach the top court, hours after the Rajasthan High Court ruled that no action can be taken against Mr Pilot and other rebel party leaders for now, NDTV reported.
The order had been seen as a reprieve for the group against immediate disqualification even though the final verdict was delayed after the high court accepted Team Pilot’s eleventh-hour request to add the centre to the case so it can weigh in on whether the anti-defection law applies to them.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court had refused to stop the High Court from delivering the verdict, saying the “voice of dissent” cannot be suppressed in a democracy.
Soon after the High Court ordered “status quo”, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot demanded an assembly session “as soon as possible” and protested for more than four hours at Governor Kalraj Mishra’s house, accusing him of sitting on the request because he was “under pressure” to stall a test of strength. The Chief Minister submitted a list of 102 MLAs to the Governor, who asked him to send a fresh request for a session.
Over the last two weeks, Mr Pilot has mounted a mutiny against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with the support of 18 other MLAs who are sequestered in BJP-ruled Haryana.
The Congress has a narrow lead over the opposition and has only two more than the majority-mark of 101 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Team Pilot has 19 MLAs and the BJP has 72. Including smaller parties and independent members, the opposition has 97 at the moment.
Asked about whether the Congress would move the Supreme Court against the governor, senior party leader and advocate Kapil Sibal said, “The Congress will take whatever action it has to take in this regard. What Rajasthan governor has done is something that is unprecedented.”
Congress leader Anand Sharma on Twitter said, “Supreme Court is the last hope to save constitutional democracy. India is watching whether constitutional bench judgements and supreme court settled laws on floor tests will be honoured or not?”