Justice Arun Mishra of the Supreme Court on Thursday made a scathing observation seemingly favouring Sachin Pilot and his 18 rebel MLAs as he bluntly said, “Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed.” The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari refused to stop the Rajasthan High Court from announcing its verdict, scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). The bench, however, said that the order by the Rajasthan High Court will be subject to the final verdict passed by the Supreme Court. Observations made by Justice Mishra during Thursday’s hearing have come as a huge boost for Sachin Pilot and his 18 rebel MLAs.
Kapil Sibal, who was defending the Speaker CP Joshi’s right to issue disqualification notices to Pilot and his MLAs, told the court, “MLA Meena had made a statement to Times Now that people of Rajasthan had been cheated by the Congress government. To which, according to Bar and Bench, Justice Mishra asked, “Why did the party not take a decision first?” Sibal replied, “Courts cannot intervene into that. I am not representing the Congress party.”
Justice Mishra observed, “But this will be a case where party members cannot raise voice against his own party? … Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed.”
Justice Mishra said that this matter ought to be heard at length since this ‘will require a detailed hearing.’ Sibal requested the court to ‘suspend the High Court order’ shceduled for tomorrow.
Justice Mishra: But this will be a case where party members cannot raise voice against his own party?
Sibal: But this has happened a lot of times, SC has upheld
Justice Mishra: Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed !
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) July 23, 2020
Sibal, representing the Speaker, said, “I, as a constitutional authority, sought a reply. Why did they not reply? They are giving interviews to TV channels. They say they want to voice their opinion. Let them come to the party meeting and voice their opinion. They need to state that.”
At one point, Justice Mishra warned Sibal to not use such language when he said that this was ‘not fair’ to not transfer the case from Rajsthan High Court to the Supreme Court.
Sibal – I’ll file a transfer Petition. Transfer it to yourself.
Justice Mishra – Cannot do that right now. Not like this.
Sibal – This is not fair.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) July 23, 2020
Speaker CP Joshi has served notices to Pilot and 18 MLAs after they decided to not attend the Congress legislative party meetings twice. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has 101 MLAs in the 200-seat assembly. If the High Court rules in favour of theSthe then Gehlot can sail through in the floor test. But, if the High Court bars the Speaker from disqualifying rebel MLAs and allows them to vote against their own party, then the Gehlot government is bound to collapse.