New Delhi/Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a group of dissident MLAs from Karnataka, who had earlier resigned from the assembly, to meet the Speaker in order to submit their resignations, and directed the state's DGP to provide protection to them.
Supreme Court directed the 10 rebel Congress-JDS MLAs of Karnataka "to meet the Assembly Speaker at 6 PM today and submit their resignations if they so wish," according to news agency ANI.
Supreme Court asks 10 rebel Congress-JDS MLAs of Karnataka "to meet the Karnataka Assembly Speaker at 6pm today and submit their resignations if they so wish." SC, says, "security would be provided to the MLAs." pic.twitter.com/RPXd1FPTz3
— ANI (@ANI) July 11, 2019
The top court, in its order, said that ''full security would be provided to all the MLAs."
Passing its order on a plea filed by the dissident MLAs, the top court said that the Karnataka Speaker has to take a decision in remaining part the day.
The apex court then adjourned the hearing in the case for Friday (July 12).
In their plea, the dissident MLAs had accused the Karnataka Assembly Speaker of not accepting their resignations.
The 10 MLAs had approached the Supreme Court against the Speaker's decision on Wednesday and sought an urgent hearing in the matter.
In their plea, which was filed through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, the rebel legislators alleged that Speaker was not performing his constitutional duty and deliberately delaying the acceptance of their resignations from the state assembly.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, then assured Rohatgi that the plea would be heard, but at some later date.
The MLAs, in their petition, made two specific prayers before the top court - direct the Speaker to accept the resignations tendered and restrain the Speaker from proceeding with the application on disqualification of the MLAs.
The petitioners also requested the court to pass an order which it may deem fit in connection with the facts and circumstances of the present case. The petition claimed that the Speaker`s actions were "vitiated by malafide as evident in his actions."
"Notwithstanding the same and fearing that the Chief Minister may have to tender resignation for want of confidence of the house, the Speaker is acting in a partisan manner to frustrate the will of the house", the petitioners contended.
The petitioners contended that the Chief Minister despite being reduced to a minority is refusing to seek a vote of confidence.
"And, as a result of the concerted acts between the Speaker and the government, a minority government which does not enjoy the confidence of the House, continues in power illegally. A purposive interpretation of article 164 r/w principles of Parliamentary Sovereignty mandate that the Chief Minister should always command the confidence of the house", the petition said.
Referring to the current political situation as ''extraordinary'', the petitioners sought "the court to invoke its extraordinary jurisdiction for upholding the democratic principles as enshrined in the Constitution".
Attacking the deliberate delay caused by the Speaker, the petitioners said that his actions are not in compliance with Constitutional democracy.
The main opposition party - BJP - had urged Governor Vajubhai Vala to direct a floor test by the HD Kumaraswamy government.
All this came amid intense speculations that Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy may resign on Thursday. Ahead of that, the CM will chair a crucial meeting of the state cabinet at the Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru, said reports.
The Chief Minister`s Office had said that the cabinet meeting will have all the ministers as they have only submitted their resignations to their party presidents, not to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The meeting comes a day after Karnataka Water Minister DK Shivakumar, who went to Mumbai to meet the rebel MLAs staying at a hotel there, was detained by Mumbai Police and not allowed to meet the rebel MLAs.
Shivakumar, who returned to Bengaluru late on Wednesday, said it was a "matter of shame" that he was "forcefully deported" back to Bengaluru.
The Congress, which is desperate to save its government in Karnataka, had raised a storm in Parliament and protested on the roads of Bengaluru, where senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and KC Venugopal were detained along with several party workers while taking out a protest march.
The government`s woes further increased after a lone legislator of a regional party KPJP and an Independent also resigned and withdrew their support to the ruling coalition, which has a slender majority in the Assembly.
According to the sources, 3-4 more party legislators are likely to resign before the 10-day Monsoon session of the state legislature begins from Friday.
After resignation by KPJP MLA and Independent legislator, the combined strength of the ruling allies will be reduced from 117 - 115 of the Congress-JD-S and one of BSP - to less than 113, the halfway mark for a simple majority. If all the resignations are accepted, the strength of the Assembly will go down to 209 and the new halfway mark will be 105.
However, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has refused to accept the resignations of the MLAs, saying eight of them were not in the prescribed format and five others needed to explain why their action did not fall under the purview of Anti-Defection law.
(With Agency inputs)