SC declines early hearing of 2 MLAs plea on floor test

SC declines early hearing of 2 MLAs plea on floor test

Supreme Court of India (PTI Image)

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an urgent plea by Independent MLAs for conducting a floor test in Karnataka Assembly, saying it was impossible to take up the matter "today itself".

A bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said we may consider for listing the writ petition on Tuesday.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter on behalf of two Independent MLAs. He says the floor was being delayed deliberately on one pretext or another.

He said the matter could be heard today itself as the last item.

"It is impossible to hear it today. We will see tomorrow," the CJI said.

Two Independent MLAs sought for a direction to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to conduct floor test forthwith before 5 pm on July 22.

MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh, who withdrew from the JDS-Congress coalition government, contended the ruling dispensation, which has lost its majority, was adopting various dilatory tactics to avoid the trust vote and indulging in horse-trading and defections from the BJP.

This was in contrast to the plea made by CM Kumaraswamy and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Saturday to the court for clarification on the July 17 order that the rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to attend the Assembly session.

Their writ petition invoked extraordinary jurisdiction of the top court under Article 142 to seek a direction for conducting floor test on and before 5 pm on Monday.

The two MLAs contended the actions of Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar and the CM in "not conducting the floor test being grossly illegal, irrational, mala-fide and violative of the constitutional mandate under Article 14, is amenable to judicial review under Article 32 of the constitution".

Detailing the turn of events that took place, they said the actions by the Speaker and the CM are "leading to Constitutional crisis in the state".

"The ministers of the ruling coalition are not only intimidating the MLAs to vote in their favour, but they are also using illegal and unethical methods to achieve the same, including horse-trading. In order to buy time, they are trying to thwart the democratic process without facing the trust vote," they said in the writ petition filed by advocate Diksha Rai.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, who is heading the minority government, may make himself scarce from the proceedings on July 22, they feared.

"It has been reliably learned that in a desperate attempt to avoid the trust vote, the CM may also rake up an emergent situation and use medical emergencies, including hospitalization to avoid the trust vote," they said.

Taking advantage of the logjam, the Government, which is in minority, is taking several executive decisions like transferring the police, IAS and other officers.

The MLAs also sought an impleadment application in the writ petition filed by rebel MLAs Pratap Gouda Patil and others.