New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly to maintain status quo in connection with the resignation and disqualification of 10 rebel legislators of the coalition government of Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) and the Congress party.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the case involved issues of substantial importance involving Articles 190 and 361 of the Constitution. The case will be next heard on Tuesday.
“Various issues of interpretation of the constitutional provisions arise in this case...Question of judicial interfere also comes up. It also needs to be examined if speaker needs to decide disqualification first," the bench said.
Arguing on behalf of the rebel legislators, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said, “Speaker is riding on two horses. He says Supreme Court is nobody to give directions. He also says he has to study the resignations…His object is to keep resignations pending and then disqualify them so that resignations become infructuous. If he can't decide on resignations, then it is a brazen case of contempt."
“Two of the MLAs resigned after disqualification proceedings commenced. Eight of them sent resignations before disqualification proceedings but did not appear in person with resignation letter," responded senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of the Karnataka Assembly Speaker.
On Thursday, the apex court passed an order directing the rebel lawmakers to meet the speaker at 6 PM, and asked him to take a decision on their resignations during the course of the day.
Later, after the apex court’s order, Karnataka legislative assembly speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar moved the Supreme Court, seeking a recall of the order.
Ten legislators of the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka had moved the Supreme Court, alleging Kumar has deliberately not accepted their resignations.
The petitioners had sought directions to the Speaker to accept their resignations and restrain him from disqualifying the legislators.
The 10 rebel MLAs who have filed the application in the apex court are — Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, B.C. Patil, S.T. Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K. Gopalaiah, A.H. Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.
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