Karnataka crisis: Apex court asks Speaker to take decision by Wednesday
New Delhi, July 16 (UNI): Rebel MLAs on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court to direct the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to take a decision on their resignations by tomorrow, prior to the trust vote of the HD Kumaraswamy dispensation in the software capital of India.
Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel appearing for the dissident lawmakers, submitted to the apex court that it will lead to absurdity if a disqualification is kept pending for four years and the resignation is also not decided but the member is forced to attend the Assembly in the meantime.
"Can this be a mandate of the Constitution? Resignation and disqualification can't be mixed," Rohatgi told the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi-headed bench.
The MLAs submitted that the Speaker, who kept the resignations in abeyance and threatened to take up disqualification proceedings, had coerced them to attend the trial of strength in the Assembly and vote for the Janata Dal (Secular)-Indian National Congress coalition government even though they no longer wanted to be part of the party they were affiliated with.
Kumaraswamy's counsel Rajeev Dhawan contended that the apex court had no power to intervene in the duties of the Speaker. The Supreme Court, Dhawan submitted, had exceeded its jurisdiction by passing an interim order asking the Speaker to decide forthwith on July 11 the dispute over the resignation of the MLAs.
Dhawan requested the apex court to vacate interim order for status quo on proceedings before Speaker and says if it was not done then there will be free-for-all chaos in Assembly during the debate on the motion.
The CJI-led three-judge bench ruled that the Supreme Court had decades ago given an extremely high status to the Speaker while interpreting anti-defection law and probably that needed a relook after so many years.
"Exercise of jurisdiction of this court depends on the extent of self-restraint we have. There is no inflexible rule to exercise our jurisdiction. This court had ordered a floor test within 24 hours, had also appointed a pro-tem Speaker," the bench observed.