Rajasthan Crisis: Congress disqualifies 19 MLA, including Sachin Pilot

On Tuesday, Congress party filed a petition against 19 MLAs including Sachin Pilot, former Rajasthan deputy chief minister under the anti-defection provision of the constitution. The petition was moved citing the charges of being absent from legislative meetings, conspiring to bring down the government, staying mysteriously inaccessible which raised the suspicion about their motives, as grounds for disqualification.

The petition read, “The individual in question has, despite requests,

(i) deliberately absented himself from not one but two successive meetings of the Congress Legislature Party,

(ii) conspired to bring down the elected government of the INC in Rajasthan;

(iii) conducted himself in an openly hostile and prejudicial manner to the interests of INC and its Government of Rajasthan;

(iv) remained mysteriously inaccessible in pursuance of this sinister objective for the last few days;

(v) not provided any reasons or explanation for his continued absence;

(vi) is admittedly part of a group that is seeking to destabilize the government and members of which have categorically declared this intention in clear terms to the media in three separate statements made on the evening of July 13th, 2020.”

The petition added that the behavior of the groups of rebel MLAs led by Pilot should be taken as a voluntary renouncing of their membership in Congress. It said, “All of these lead inescapably to the conclusion that the individual has ‘voluntarily given up membership’ of the Indian National Congress and the provisions of Para 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule are attracted to disqualify him with immediate effect.”

The petition was submitted by Congress member Mahesh Joshi to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi. On Wednesday, the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker issued a notice to Pilot and 18 other MLAs in question to seek their reply by July 17.  On Thursday, Sachin Pilot moved to Rajasthan high court contesting the petition in a move to quash the disqualification of his group from the party. The case has been admitted to the court. Pilot and group would be represented by senior counsels Mukul Rohatgi and Harish Salve, the top government lawyers.

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