JAIPUR/NEW DELHI: The battle within the Congress reached the Supreme Court Wednesday with the
filing a petition against a high court order directing him to defer disqualification proceedings against Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs.
Seeking an interim stay on the high court order, his petition said it was the top court’s duty to ensure that all constitutional authorities act within the “Lakshman rekha” drawn for each one of them.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari will hear the plea on Thursday.
Amid the tussle for power in Rajasthan, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at the premises of chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother as part of nationwide searches over an alleged fertiliser scam.
The Congress linked the raids targeting Agrasain Gehlot to the alleged attempt by the BJP to topple its government in Rajasthan.
“Prime Minister Modi has created a ‘raid raj’ in the country but we are not going to be scared,” party leader Randeep Surjewala said.
Gehlot has written directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging the involvement of his BJP in “horse-trading” of MLAs in the state and naming Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
“I am not aware to what extent this is in your knowledge or if you are being misled,” he said in the letter released to the media on Wednesday. “History will not forgive those who participate in this deed.”
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot writes a letter to PM Narendra Modi regarding ‘despicable attempts to destabilize elected… https://t.co/K6CiJAFTNc
— ANI (@ANI)1595426329000
Sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot has also sent out a notice, asking Congress MLA Giriraj Singh Malinga to apologise – and pay Re 1 as compensation – for alleging that he was offered money to switch sides and join the BJP.
In Jaipur, Speaker C P Joshi said he was moving the Supreme Court to avert a constitutional crisis.
His petition argued that the disqualification proceedings under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution are the business of the legislature, and cannot be interfered with.
The decision to move the apex court was taken the previous evening after the Speaker’s office took note of an order from the Rajasthan High Court, giving a “direction” to him.
The order by the court of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta said its proceedings will resume Friday and requested the Speaker also to put on hold any action on the notices till then, recording that “we direct accordingly”.
The show cause notices sent to the dissident MLAs by the Speaker had asked them to reply by 1 pm on July 17 why they should not be disqualified from the state assembly.
In the high court, the Speaker’s counsel had twice before agreed to a “request” to extend the deadline for receiving the replies.
But the problem arose