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SC says can’t force rebel MLAs to vote, K’taka govt teeters Lets Speaker Decide On Resignations

COURTESY TOI JULY 18

SC says can’t force rebel MLAs to vote, K’taka govt teeters
Lets Speaker Decide On Resignations
Dhananjay Mahapatra & Amit Anand Choudhary TNN

New Delhi:

It is disadvantage Congress-JD(S) in Karnataka as the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the 15 rebel MLAs could not be compelled to take part in Thursday’s trust vote in the assembly. This has blunted the consequences of possible defiance of whip by the rebels who are holed up in Mumbai.


A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose did a balancing act and refused to issue any direction to speaker K R Ramesh on deciding the resignations tendered by the rebels. In doing so, it overrode its July 11 order asking the speaker to decide on the resignations of 10 MLAs immediately. Later, five more MLAs joined the 10 rebels and sought a direction to the speaker to accept their resignations.

The Supreme Court order reduces the number of Congress-JD(S) MLAs to 102 (including one nominated), less than the majority mark of 106 without the 15 rebels. Ramalinga Reddy, who had joined the ranks of 15 rebels, has withdrawn his resignation. The BJP has 105 MLAs, enough to form a government, and the support of two independents.


BJP says delaying tactics won’t help Cong-JD(S)

Though there was uncertainty over the modalities of the trust vote and the Congress said the powers of the speaker had been upheld, CM H D Kumaraswamy seems on thin ice. The view in the BJP camp is that delaying tactics will not help the Congress-JD(S) coalition as the rebels have made up their minds not to vote for the state government. There was also clarity that the BJP will stake claim once the coalition is voted out—a result the party feels is inescapable.

The apx court said it would decide at a later time the weighty question of if MLAs have submitted resignations prior to the initiation of disqualification proceedings against them, which proceeding— resignation or disqualification—should take precedence before the speaker, or should he take up both simultaneously?

However, it felt an interim order was urgently needed given the involvement of competing rights of parties in the litigation before the SC. The SC said, “In these circumstances, the competing claims have to be balanced by an appropriate interim order, which according to us, should be to permit the speaker of the House to decide on the request for resignations by the 15 members of the House within such timeframe as the speaker may consider appropriate. “We also take the view that in the present case, the discretion of the speaker should not be fettered by any direction of this court and the speaker should be left free to decide the issue. The order of the speaker on the resignation issue, as and when passed, be placed before the court.

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