Karnataka rebel MLAs’ case: SC to pronounce verdict tomorrow at 10.30 am

Prime News, National, Karnataka, New Delhi, July 16:- The Supreme Court will announce its verdict over the plea against Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar moved by rebel Karnatala MLAs over the delay in acceptance of their resignations on Wednesday.

After hearing arguments from all three sides, the Supreme Court reserved its order till tomorrow (July 17) 10.30 am.

Arguments were heard from the lawyers Mukul Rohatgi, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rajeev Dhavan – representing the rebel MLAs of Karnataka, the Karnataka Speaker and CM HD Kumaraswamy respectively.

The rebel MLAs, represented by Mukul Rohatgi, told the Supreme Court that Speaker was infringing upon their rights by not accepting their resignations from the Legislative Assembly.

During the hearing in the Supreme Court, Rohatgi urged the court to issue an order to the Speaker to decide on the resignations within a time frame. He referred to the May 2018 order passed by the Supreme Court to say “the order which your lordships passed on the first day, asking the Speaker to decide within a time frame.”

Rohatgi argued that the Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s decision not to accept the resignations citing they are not according to the set norms is wrong. He said that reasons for resignation could be many. “Unless it is involuntary, Speaker cannot keep it pending,” Rohatgi told the bench. In the present case, he said that Speaker said reason for resignation is to avoid disqualification but that does not mean it is involuntary. “Article 190 says if resignation is by hand and there is no other material, the Speaker has to take a decision as fast as possible. He cannot keep it pending,” he said.

Rohatgi also said that the disqualification proceedings against the MLAs were a clear attempt to stutter the resignations as the government was in minority. Rohatgi said that the Speaker was infringing upon the rights of the MLAs. He said that his clients don’t want to be MLAs and want to go back to the public. “I am not saying quash the disqualification proceedings. Disqualification can go on. I am saying I don’t want to be an MLA. I don’t want to defect. I want to go back to public and do whatever I want to do. It is my right to do what I want to do. Speaker is infringing that right of mine,” he told the top court.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that nobody is saying that Speakers are not fallible but he cannot be asked to decide the matter in a time-bound manner. “How can the Speaker be directed to decide in a particular manner?” Singhvi asked the court. “Such orders are not passed even to a trial court,” he said.

Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi and the bench discussed if the SC has the power to interfere with Speakers powers. While Singhvi said that court does not have the jurisdiction to order a time-frame on the Speaker, the CJI argued that the extent of jurisdiction depends on “the kind of restraint that the court would like to impose on itself.” “The court had jurisdiction to order a floor test in 24 hours…because that was to your advantage? Court has jurisdiction to appoint protem Speaker? Last year we ordered Speaker to conduct a floor test in 24 hours. You did not object to it then because it went in your favour,” the CJI said.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it had no jurisdiction to pass the two interim orders asking the Assembly Speaker to decide and, later, maintain the status quo on the resignations and disqualification of the rebel MLAs.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Kumaraswamy, told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the Speaker cannot be compelled to decide this issue in a time bound manner. “When resignation process is not in order, court cannot direct Speaker to decide by 6 pm,” Dhavan told the bench.

Kumaraswamy also told the court that the rebel MLAs were hunting in a pack to destabilise his government and that the court should not have entertained their petitions. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)



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