India

SC: Rajasthan Speaker wants ‘direction’ dropped from HC order

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) As the counsels of rebel Congress MLAs in Rajasthan and the Assembly Speaker slug it out in the Supreme Court, two words became a bone of contention during the course of the hearing.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi, that the High Court had only requested the Speaker to wait till July 24.

Sibal replied, “Suspend the word ‘direction' from the order, as the court can't do this.”

Justice Mishra said so the problem is only with the two words, as the High Court order everywhere says ‘request'.” The apex court noted that the matter may require lengthy hearing. Sibal contended that the apex court could have prolonged hearing but the interim direction to the Speaker should be removed. “My lords have never passed an interim order like this”, submitted Sibal before the bench.

Sibal was referring to the Rajasthan High Court order which said “In view of above directions, we therefore, further request the Speaker, who has been pleased to extend the period for filing reply by the writ petitioners till 5.30 p.m. as of today i.e. 21.07.2020, to extend the said period till the delivery of orders by this Court on 24/07/2020 and we direct accordingly. The matter shall be listed on 24.07.2020. The parties are directed to act accordingly.”

The Speaker, in his plea, has contended that this order is in the teeth of the dictum of the Constitution bench of the apex court in Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu, and the mandate of the mandate of Para 6(2) of the Tenth Schedule read with Article 212 of the Constitution. “In Kihoto, a Constitution bench of this court expressly held that courts cannot interdict the Speaker from proceeding ahead at the quia timet stage”, argued the plea.

The bench queried Sibal on the grounds on which disqualification of the MLAs was sought.

Sibal replied that the MLAs didn't attend the party meet, instead they were indulging in activities against the interest of their own party. Sibal also cited the apex court verdict in the Manipur crisis. “Justice Nariman's judgment in Manipur is in my favour. It asked the Speaker to decide the matter, not defer the decision,” he argued.

The bench queried Sibal that could the Speaker be an aggrieved person. He replied that the Speaker has moved the top court because he has been asked not to decide the matter, which is against the Constitution bench.

–IANS

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