Supreme Court asks Karnataka Speaker to maintain status quo on MLA resignations

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

The Congress-JD (S) coalition government suffered a massive jolt after 16 MLAs resigned, starting from Saturday.

In Karnataka, 13 of the Congress 79 MLAs have tendered their resignation since July 6, putting the party's 13-month-old coalition government with JD (S) in a crisis situation. "I suggested that the chief minister bring it up on Monday".

However, the counsel appearing for the Karnataka Assembly Speaker said he was constitutionally obligated to decide on a plea for disqualification of the rebel MLAs.

After the intervention of the Supreme Court Thursday, the high-voltage political drama in Karnataka came to an end.

On Friday, four rebel MLAs visited Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai while some of them also held consultations with legal experts on their position in the wake of Speaker Ramesh Kumar taking a tough stand on their resignations.

Ramachandran also added that the Congress did not want the chief minister's solution for the party.

After the poll debacle, Roshan Baig, a former Karnataka minister who was one of the senior Congress leaders to resign recently, had attacked some senior party leaders like K.C. Venugopal and Siddaramaiah for the poor performance.

Congress leader and Karnataka Irrigation Minister D K Shivakumar, who is back in Bengaluru after a failed trip to Mumbai to meet and placate the rebel MLAs staying there, expressed his optimism that "good sense will prevail" and the dissidents will withdraw their resignations.

He submitted that the order passed in the morning was based upon submissions made by the rebel MLAs without reference to several directly relevant articles of the Constitution, which oblige the Speaker to perform his constitutional duties under the Article 190 (1) (B) as well as the 10th schedule of the Constitution.

The MLAs told the bench on Friday that the Speaker had not taken any decision on their move to step down, adding that he had no immunity with regard to the acceptance of the resignations. "If he can't decide on resignations, then it is a brazen case of contempt".

"It is only after such enquiry/process that the satisfaction of the Speaker can be reached", he submitted.

He stated that the question which therefore requires to be decided by the Speaker is whether any disqualification has been incurred by the MLAs concerned prior to the submission of the resignation letter.

The Speaker submitted that the 10th schedule casts a mandatory duty on him to decide applications for disqualifications under para 2 of the 10th schedule.

Asserting he will abide by rules, the speaker said he will take a "just decision which may be of convenience to some and inconvenience to some".

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, Kumar said he would be very strict in dealing with the rebel MLAs and try to set an example.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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