SC takes note of Speaker's submission for trust vote

SC takes note of Speaker's submission for trust vote

Independent MLAs H Nagesh (L) and R Shankar (R). (Photo by S K Dinesh)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to wait and watch for a day before taking up the plea of two independent MLAs on the issue of the trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly as an assurance came from Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar that it would be completed by the evening.

"It has been stated that the Speaker expects and is optimistic that the Trust Vote would be taken up by the House in the course of the day, perhaps later in the evening. We, therefore, adjourn the matter till tomorrow," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The two independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh, who withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, had moved the top court saying the state has plunged into a political crisis after they withdrew their support to the government and 16 lawmakers of the ruling coalition tendered their resignations.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the two MLAs, submitted that every day the Speaker was coming out with statements that the voting on trust motion would be taken on that particular day and specifying the time.

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The Speaker had said on Monday as well that by midnight the procedure for the trust vote would be completed, he said.

However, senior advocate Abhishekh Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, said that no order can be sought from the apex court when the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D H D Kumaraswamy is continuing.

He said the Speaker is bound to complete the debate by giving an opportunity to legislatures who are participating in it.

Singhvi also said that Governor Vajubhai Vala was also breaching the guidelines and directions of the apex court relating to his role on the issue of trust vote by writing letters to the Speaker, who himself has come out with a statement that the ongoing confidence motion would be completed by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Taking note of the submission on behalf of the Speaker, the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, deferred the hearing for Wednesday on the plea of two independent MLAs seeking a direction to the Speaker to forthwith conduct the floor-test in the House.

"It is submitted that the trust vote is not being conducted despite the government being in minority. It is submitted that a minority government, which does not have the confidence of the majority, is being allowed to continue in office," they said in their plea.

The plea further said, "The petitioners have been constrained to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking a direction from this court to conduct a floor test forthwith in the Karnataka Assembly."

The two legislators had said that the Governor had sent messages to the house under Article 175(2) of the Constitution asking for completion of the vote of confidence, but they were not adhered to and the trust vote debate continued unendingly.

The legislators had accused the government of taking advantage of the logjam and taking several executive decisions like transferring of police officers, IAS officers, other officials.

The Independent MLAs' petition came after Kumaraswamy and Karnataka state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao had moved the top court accusing the Governor of interfering with the Assembly proceedings during the debate on trust vote.

Kumaraswamy and Rao had filed separate applications after the deadlines set by the governor to conclude the proceedings of the confidence motion were not met.

They had also sought a clarification of the July 17 order of the apex court by which the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs were granted relief that they cannot be compelled to participate in the ongoing assembly proceedings.

All the petitions were moved at a time when the Karnataka Assembly is debating the confidence motion moved by Kumaraswamy.

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