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10 rebel Karnataka MLAs of Cong, JD(S) move SC over Speaker’s refusal to accept resignations

PTI New Delhi | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

Congress and JD(S) members protest the BJP’s alleged efforts to bring down the Karnataka government, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday   -  AFP

The political crisis in Karnataka reached the Supreme Court on Wednesday as 10 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs moved a plea alleging that the State’s Assembly Speaker has been deliberately not accepting their resignations.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the rebel MLAs, and assured him that it will see whether their petition can be listed for an urgent hearing on Thursday. The senior lawyer said these lawmakers have already resigned from their membership of the Assembly and wish to contest fresh elections.

He sought a hearing either on Wednesday or Thursday on the plea that alleged that the Speaker had acted in a partisan and mala fide manner in deliberately not accepting the resignations. In the petition, the 10 rebel MLAs alleged that the Speaker was protecting the government, which is in minority now.

“We will see,” the Bench, which also comprised justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said when Rohatgi pressed for an urgent hearing, saying “time is the essence” in the matter.

The rebel MLAs sought a direction for the Speaker to accept their resignations. Further, they have sought a direction that the Speaker be restrained from proceeding with the application for their disqualification.

“Acting in a concerted manner, the Congress party has filed a petition before the Speaker seeking disqualification of the MLAs who have resigned. Needless to state, the disqualification proceedings are completely illegal and without any cause of action,” they said.

In the petition, the MLAs said the Assembly Session is to be begin on July 12, the same day that the MLAs have been asked to remain in person before the Speaker, which shows the “intent of the Speaker to disqualify the petitioners in a prejudged manner”.

MLAs’ allegation

“The whole idea is to disqualify the petitioners and under threat of disqualification allow the minority government to function without the support of majority in the house. It is submitted that the actions of the Speaker are arbitrary and unreasonable and violative of the Constitution,” the plea said.

The 10 rebel MLAs who have filed the application in the top court are Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, BC Patil, ST Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, AH Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.

Published on July 10, 2019

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