Disqualified MLAs move SC against Speaker's order

Supreme Court. (PTI Photo)

Fifteen disqualified MLAs from Congress and JD(S) on Thursday approached the Supreme Court challenging the then Speaker's decisions rejecting their resignations and declaring them as ineligible to be legislators again for the term of the 15th Assembly.

In a joint petition, Pratapgouda Patil, B C Patil, A S Hebbar, S T Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj and Munirathna contended that the Speaker's order passed on July 28 was “wholly illegal, arbitrary and mala fide” as he arbitrarily rejected their resignations, holding them as not voluntary and genuine.

They contended that they had resigned on July 6, but Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar went on to disqualify them on the basis of a “wholly misconceived” petition filed by the Congress party on July 10.

Three JD(S) members A H Vishwanath, K Gopalaiah and K C Narayana Gowda also filed their separate writ petitions, questioning the validity of the Speaker's order to disqualify them.

Similarly other disqualified MLAs – Roshan Baig, Anand Singh, M T B Nagaraj, Dr K Sudhakar, Shrimanth Patil and R Shankar – also urged the court to quash the orders passed by the Speaker.

Two rebel Congress leaders Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli had earlier filed their petitions against the order.

All the disqualified MLAs raised the same grounds, maintaining that their right to resign from the post of MLA and carry on any vocation of their choice including public service cannot be denied by the Speaker by a completely illegal and unconstitutional order.

The petitioners claimed that the actions of the Speaker violated their Constitutional right under Article 190 and were, therefore, illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

They contended the Speaker's action to disqualify them till the end of the term of the Assembly was against Article 361-B of the Constitution.

"The impugned order is not in consonance with the provisions of Rules 6 and 7 of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of Members on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, inasmuch as, they were not given seven days' notice before the matter was taken up for hearing," they said.

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