Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot, along with 18 other MLAs have sought impleadment of the Union of India as a party to the proceedings pending before the Rajasthan High Court.
"Since the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Constitution of India are under challenge, The Union of India is required to be made a party to the present proceedings," the impleadment application states.
The MLAs had moved the High Court on July 16, challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Speaker of Rajashan Assembly. They have contended that intra-party dissent cannot be regarded as voluntary giving up of party membership and therefore, the Speaker had no jurisdiction to issue notice invoking Paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
They further asserted that the High Court has powers under Article 226 to interfere with the Speaker's action, even before a decision has been taken. Courts can quash a show-cause notice if it is issued without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or is a colourable exercise of power, or is issued with mala fides, or in violation of the principles of natural justice, they had argued.
The Speaker, on the other hand, submitted that Courts have restrictions in interfering with proceedings within the house. Article 212 of the Constitution prescribe that the legality of house proceedings cannot be called into question. The proceedings for disqualification are deemed to be house proceedings as per Para 6(2) of 10th Schedule. Relying on the SC decision in Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu, the Speaker submitted that the Courts cannot interfere at a stage anterior to the Speaker's decision. A Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is not like any other tribunal over which the HC exercises supervisory jurisdiction, he submitted.
Since the issues raised during the course of arguments revolve around interpretation of Constitutional provisions, the Petitioners have urged the Court that,
"Union of India through The Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice (Dept. of Legal Affairs) be made a Party Respondent to the present writ petition in the interest of justice and law."
Significantly, the division bench hearing the matter had reserved its verdict on the plea and the same is listed for pronouncement tomorrow, i.e. July 24.