No decision for 110 days direct encouragement to horse trading: Raj HC

The Rajasthan High Court has sought complete record in connection with the resignation of 81 Congress MLAs in September last year during a parallel meeting called against the one convened by the party high command.

Earlier, the Congress officials had claimed that 91 MLAs had resigned, however, a record submitted in the court said 81 resignations were received.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mittal and Justice Shubha Mehta via its interim order issued on Friday sought all original records of resignations and the procedure adopted in this regard.

Original copy of the order issued by the Speaker regarding the rejection of their resignations also has to be submitted by January 30, 2023 for the next hearing.

In its order, the bench questioned whether the resignations submitted by the MLAs can be kept pending indefinitely by the Speaker and if yes, up to what period?.

Copies of the resignations, the Speaker’s decision and Speaker’s comment along with an affidavit also needs to be submitted.

The bench gave this order while hearing the PIL of Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore on Friday.

While making verbal remarks, the court said that pendency for a long time over the resignation is like promoting horse trading. Chief Justice Pankaj Mittal said that the Speaker has taken a decision on the resignations, but there should be a fixed time limit for this. It should not be kept pending for long.

Expressing displeasure over not producing the Speaker’s order, the Bench said that even the affidavit submitted by the first Assembly Secretary did not contain the information as to when the resignations were presented by the MLAs before the Speaker.

During the hearing, Advocate General M.S. Singhvi said that there is a provision in the rules that resignation can be withdrawn.

While commenting verbally, the court said that the MLAs are sometimes resigning, sometimes withdrawing. They are not able to decide on their own whether they will remain as public representatives or not. In such a situation, how will they do their work as a public representative and how will they put forward the public’s point of view?

During the hearing, Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore presented an application saying that earlier it was said that 91 MLAs resigned, but now only 81 MLAs are being told to resign. In such a situation, the affidavit of the Assembly Secretary itself becomes suspicious.

There is no complete information in the affidavit and it has not been told which MLAs resigned and when and what comments were made by the speaker on them. If an inquiry was conducted on the instructions of the Speaker regarding the resignations of 91 MLAs 110 days ago, what would be the result?

The order rejecting the resignations should also be brought on the record of the court. On the other hand, till the time the resignations were not accepted, the MLA had no right to take salary and allowances and other facilities and, therefore, their remunerations should be withheld, Rathore said.

20230121-122803

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