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After rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and his 18 loyalist MLAs on Thursday moved Rajasthan High Court against Speaker C.P. Joshi’s disqualification notice alleging that “Speaker was acting under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s influence”, the court deferred the plea in the matter as Pilot camp appealed to amend the plea.

The petition was filed by P.R. Meena, an MLA from Pilot group on behalf of 18 other MLAs who were slapped notice for not attending two CLPs meetings called in recently.

The plea filed against the Rajasthan Speaker said that they fear “Speaker would act as per Gehlot’s instruction without giving us a fair hearing.”

It questioned the validity and correctness of the notice issued by the Speaker.

Pilot moved the court ahead of Friday deadline which the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker had given to him and 18 other rebel MLAs to respond.

Mukul Rohatgi and Harish Salve represented Pilot group and were connected via video conferencing while Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented the Gehlot government.

The case hearing started at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Judge Satish Chandra Sharma appeared in court for a single bench hearing via video conference.

Speaker Joshi had issued notices on Tuesday after the Congress party came in seeking their disqualification from the state assembly.

The former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and the other MLAs who were sacked recently were asked to respond to the notices by Friday.

Congress officials said Pilot and 18 other MLAs had defied a whip and did not attend its legislature party meetings.

Meanwhile, the BJP has questioned the whip terming it unconstitutional and illegal.

How can the Speaker issue a whip on MLAs for being absent. Whip is issued if MLA is absent from any discussion in assembly proceedings, said BJP state president Satish Poonia.

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