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Karnataka crisis: SC orders status quo, to hear rebel MLAs' plea on July 16

The order was passed by a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. 

Karnataka crisis: SC orders status quo, to hear rebel MLAs' plea on July 16

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered a ''status quo'' while responding to a plea filed by a group of dissident Karnataka ruling coalition MLAs, who have accused the assembly Speaker of not discharging his constitutional duties and refusing to accept their resignations.

''Maintain status quo till the matter is heard again on Tuesday,'' the Supreme Court said in its order.

The order was passed by a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which said that the matter required a detailed hearing and scheduled it for further hearing on Tuesday.

The 10 rebel ruling side legislators who petitioned the apex court on July 10 against the Speaker for reportedly delaying to accept their resignations are Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavraju, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Prathapgouda Patil and Mahesh Kumatahali of the Congress and K. Gopalaiah, AH Vishwanath, KC Narayan Gowda of the JDS.

 

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The 10 lawmakers, who met the Speaker Ramesh Kumar with blank papers and submitted their resignations again on Thursday, had told the apex court that the former had questioned their move to go to the Supreme Court and had said "go to hell" to them in front of the media.

Karnataka Assembly Speaker had too filed a plea in the top court for modifying its July 11 order and sought more time in deciding the resignations of the seven Congress and three JD-S legislators re-submitted on Thursday evening as per its directive.

The Speaker had told the court that he had not decided on the resignation letters of the dissidents, some of whom met him last evening. During the arguments, the court questioned whether the Speaker believed any decision on the resignations was his domain, not the court's.

The Congress has petitioned the Speaker to disqualify nine of the rebels excluding Reddy, Sudhakar and Nagaraj, whom it is trying to pacify to withdraw their resignations in a bid to save the 13-month fledgeling coalition government.

The JD-S has also petitioned the Speaker to disqualify its three rebels MLAs who resigned and defied its whip to attend the assembly session.

The resignation of dissenting lawmakers has not been accepted by Kumar. He had rejected many letters on grounds of "the wrong format" so the lawmakers reportedly wrote down fresh resignations in front of him on Thursday. Later, they flew back to Mumbai, where they have been staying since they quit on Saturday.

The BJP, which will have a majority if the resignations are accepted, says the coalition government must resign because it has "lost its moral authority to rule." 

The party has been accused by the Congress and the JDS of crafting the crisis to try and seize power in Karnataka, more than a year after it fell short of a majority in state polls.

The Congress has ordered its lawmakers to attend the session and so has the JDS, which had put up its members at a resort just outside Bengaluru to keep its flock intact.

If the resignations are accepted, the coalition's 118 members will come down to 100 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which takes its tally to 107.