Raising Dissent Doesn't Amount To Leaving Party: Team Pilot's Counsel

An MLA can be disqualified if he is seen to have voluntarily leaving the membership of the party, Mukul Rohatgi said.

"He (Sachin Pilot) wants the Chief Minister to go, not the party," Mukul Rohatgi said.

New Delhi:

Raising a voice of dissent and asking for the chief minister to be removed does not amount to leaving the party, senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said today on Sachin Pilot's revolt, hours after the Rajasthan High Court said no action should be taken on disqualification notices served to Congress rebels for now.

"Sachin Pilot has on record said he is not joining the BJP. He has raised a voice of dissent, everyone has the right to dissent," said Mr Rohatgi, who is the lawyer for Sachin Pilot and 18 Congress rebel MLAs who have gone to court against disqualification notices served to them last week.

An MLA can be disqualified if he is seen to have voluntarily leaving the membership of the party, Mr Rohatgi said.

"A man says I want to remain a Congressman and want to bolster the party by changing the Chief Minister, how is that anti-party?"

"He (Sachin Pilot) wants the Chief Minister to be removed, not the party," Mr Rohatgi said.

Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi sent the disqualification notices after Mr Pilot and other rebels skipped two meetings called by the Chief Minister last week.

The rebels argued in court that not attending meetings outside the house does not amount to "voluntarily leaving membership of the party".

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Comparisons have been drawn to Sharad Yadav, who was disqualified as a Rajya Sabha member of the Janata Dal United for attending an opposition meeting.

"I can only say that Sharad Yadav did not have sound legal advice. Question of disqualification for not attending a legislative party meeting outside the house cannot be part of the 10th schedule of the constitution," said Mr Rohatgi.

He also sought to draw a difference between not attending party meetings and attending an opposition rally, which gives a "whole different message".

Mr Rohatgi also rubbished speculation that he is a "pro-dispensation lawyer" - he was appointed Attorney General after the BJP came to power in 2014 - and so, reflects the BJP's tacit support to team Pilot.

"I was Attorney General during BJP rule, that is why these allegations are being levelled. There is not one politician who I have not appeared for in the past 20 years. I appeared for DK Shivakumar (Congress) four days ago in the Supreme Court on some tax case. I got him bail. I have appeared for AIADMK, Telangana. I am a professional," Mr Rohatgi asserted.