Speaker ready to reconsider disqualified MLAs' plea

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Assembly Speaker.

The Assembly Speaker on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he was ready to reconsider the matter related to the resignation and disqualification of 17 MLAs whose actions led to the fall of the JD(S)-Congress government in the state.

“There is no difficulty for his office if the matter related to disqualification of 17 MLAs was remanded back for fresh consideration,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a three-judge bench presided over by Justice N V Ramana.

Making his brief intervention during the hearing before the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, Mehta, representing current Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, said, “we have no difficulty in hearing them all (disqualified MLAs) and take a fresh call.”

The stand taken by the current speaker is a kind of way out before the court, which is hearing the petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs from Congress and JD(S) against the orders passed by the then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, rejecting their resignations and disabling them to get elected again during the term of the 15th Assembly. In his other arguments, Mehta asserted that a lawmaker enjoyed a right to resign as a member of the House.

“Under the scheme of the Constitution, as I have read, a legislator has the right to resign. Except the contingency provided in Article 190(3), there is no room for resignation being rejected,” he submitted before the bench.

According to Article 190 (3) of the Constitution, the Speaker or the Chairman of the Assembly has to only ascertain whether the resignation of a lawmaker is voluntary and genuine.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, contended that the Speaker had the right to go into motive behind the resignation and he cannot accept it mechanically.

“Their (disqualified MLAs) entire case is about motive. Why should motive be not examined,” he asked, adding, “They expect the speaker to act like the three Gandhi monkeys”.

Maintaining that defection is the “single biggest evil” in elections and parliamentary process, Dhavan said that the speaker has the right the examine whether a member has resigned simplicator or the resignation is for a cause. The court is to continue hearing the arguments on Friday.

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