HDK, Dinesh Gundu Rao approach SC amid trust vote

HDK, Dinesh Gundu Rao approach SC amid trust vote

Karnataka Pradesh Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao. DH file photo

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, as well as Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on Friday, approached the Supreme Court, seeking clarification on the July 17 order that allowed the rebel MLAs to opt out of the trust vote in the state Assembly.

In their respective petitions, the two said the constitutional right of their parties to issue a whip to legislators under the Tenth Schedule was affected by the order.

Amid the political crisis, Kumaraswamy also questioned the Governor's letter asking him to complete the trust vote by 1.30 pm on July 19, saying he “cannot dictate to the House the manner in which debate of the confidence motion has to be taken up”.

“No such direction can be issued when the debate on the motion is on and the House is in seisin of the confidence motion,” he said.

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Rao, for his part, preferred to file impleadment and clarification applications in the writ petition filed by Pratap Gouda Patil and other rebel MLAs.

Both Kumaraswamy and Rao raised the issue of whip, which they claimed has been “whittled down” by the July 17 order.

Any interpretation of the order, which whittles down the power of a political party to issue a whip to its legislators, would be in teeth of the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the Constitution and the judgement of the apex court in 'Kihoto Holohon Vs Zachillhu', they contended.

In the Constitution bench judgement (1992), the court had stated any voting or abstaining from it by an MLA on a motion for the change of the government may result in incurring disqualification.

The applicants stated, “Under the Tenth Schedule, a political party has a constitutional right to issue a whip to its legislators. The exercise of this right under the Constitution is not circumscribed by any condition nor can it be subject to any restrictive (qua time) orders from the court even prior to the issuance of the whip.”

Rao also contended the order by the apex court was passed without even arraying the Congress Legislature Party having 79 MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly.