Disqualified MLAs move Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Two disqualified Congress rebel MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli on Monday moved the Supreme Court with a writ petition to quash the Speaker’s decision of July 25 to disqualify them as MLAs.

They maintained that their right to resign from the post of MLA and carry out a vocation of their choice, including public service, could not be denied by the Speaker by a completely illegal and unconstitutional order.

Independent MLA R Shankar is also set to approach the top court separately, seeking to set aside the orders passed by Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar for disqualifying him for the term of the Assembly under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. His petition is likely to be filed on Tuesday.

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 that 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.

Among others, they also pointed out that the Speaker, in case of Umesh Jadhav, demonstrated that pendency of disqualification proceedings was no bar to acceptance of resignation, since his resignation made on March 4 was accepted on April 1, even though a similar disqualification petition filed against him on February 11 was pending before the Speaker.

In their joint petition, Jarkiholi, who represented Gokak constituency and Kumathalli from Athani constituency, contended that the Speaker had erred in holding that the time of seven days prescribed in disqualification rules was directory and not mandatory. He was in “hot haste to disqualify the petitioners at the behest of the ruling party,” their petition stated.

They urged the court to call the records related to their resignation and disqualification proceedings and quash the orders passed by the Speaker in “mala fide manner, based on extraneous consideration and in stark contrast to the duties imposed upon him”.

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