SC tells rebel MLAs to appear before Speaker by 6 pm

Apex Court asks Speaker to decide on their resignations during the course of day

After a brief hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose asked the Speaker to take his decision on Thursday itself.

The Supreme Court on Thursday told the 10 rebel MLAs from Congress and JD(S) to appear before the Speaker by 6 pm to enable him to decide on their resignations "during the course of the day".

After a brief hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose asked the Speaker to take his decision on Thursday itself.

This comes as an immediate relief to the MLAs, holed up in a Mumbai hotel after sending their resignations to Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who was alleged to have deliberately delayed his decision.

The court put the writ petition filed by MLA Pratap Gouda Patil and others for further hearing on Friday.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the facts are "startling" in the case. The Speaker had refused to meet the MLAs, who have resigned from their respective Assembly Constituencies.

He said the first resignation was made on July 1. One MLA, who went to the Speaker, was manhandled yesterday, Rohatgi said.

He submitted that the Speaker has just to see that the resignation was voluntary.

The counsel suggested that the MLAs would appear before the Speaker who should take a decision on their resignations.

"Now the disqualification petition has been moved against us. The idea is to issue a whip, if it is violated, issue the notice and take action under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law)," he said.

Rohatgi also sought a direction to grant protection to the MLAs.

The court, after accepting his suggestion, also directed the Karnataka DGP to ensure protection to the rebel MLAs.

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