Rebel Cong, JD(S) MLAs move SC against Speaker

Current dispensation marred with maladministration, inner contradictions and scams, MLAs claim

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing. The CJI said it was not possible today but the hearing can take place on Thursday.

Ten Karnataka MLAs, who rebelled against the JDS-Congress government, on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Assembly Speaker to accept their "voluntary" resignations tendered after being "disenchanted with maladministration under the present dispensation".

They also sought a restraint order against Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar from undertaking any disqualification proceedings against them at the insistence of the Congress party.

"The Speaker has acted as a partisan and mala fide manner in the present case in order to protect the government in power which is in a minority," they said.

"Neither Article 190 of the Constitution nor the Rules of the Assembly provide any contingency and/ or penalty for failure/ omission/ refusal to comply with the prescribed mode of communication of resignation by a Member and hence, the requirement of following a prescribed format for communication of resignation is not mandatory," they asserted.

On Wednesday, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing. The CJI said it was not possible today but the hearing can take place on Thursday.

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During the brief hearing, Rohatgi indicated that the MLAs have decided to go to the public for a fresh mandate. They have sent their resignations to the Speaker, who was deliberately not accepting it and abdicated his Constitutional responsibility. 

"Time was of the essence. It should be heard either today or tomorrow," he said.

The bench then said it was certainly not possible today. 

On this, as Rohatgi sought to put some arguments, the bench suggested him to keep something for tomorrow.

The writ petition has been filed on behalf of the MLAs namely Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkhiholi, Byarati Basavaraj, B C Patil, S T Somashekar, A S Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, H D Vishwanath and Narayan Gowda. These MLAs have moved themselves to a Mumbai hotel.

In their plea, they said, "Since the time H D Kumaraswamy took oath as a Chief Minister, the administration has come to a standstill and maladministration is writ large. In recent days, the government has been rocked by various scandals, chief among them were- IMA Ponzi and JSW land scams, besides inner contradictions and maladministration."

Subsequent to their resignations, they said the Congress party has filed a petition before the Speaker seeking disqualification of the MLAs who have resigned.

"Needless to state, the disqualification proceedings are completely illegal and without any cause of action in as much as the MLAs had tendered their resignations itself to their membership," they said. 

Since the MLAs have been asked to remain in person before the Speaker, which itself showed the intent to disqualify the petitioners in a prejudged manner, they contended.

"The whole Idea is to disqualify the petitioners and under threat of disqualification allow the minority government to function without the support of majority in the house," they said. 

As per simple arithmetic, the strength of the House being 224, the government headed by Kumaraswamy lost its majority (112) seats and its strength has reduced to 103 seats, they said.

"There is no doubt that the resignations are voluntary and genuine, more so when the MLA’s themselves have given innumerable Television interviews and statements requested the Speaker time and again to accept their resignation," they contended. 

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