Ahead of floor test, Karnataka rebel MLAs say, 'stand by our decision, won't attend Assembly'
In a video message that may increase the anxiety level in the Congress-JDS camp, the rebel Karnataka MLAs have released a video clip in which they have said that they will not attend the state Assembly tomorrow. “We honour the decision of the Supreme Court. But there is no question of going back. We stand by our decision. We won’t attend the Assembly.” The video statement, in which all the lawmakers are seen standing together, comes after the Supreme Court today gave the verdict in connection with the lawmaker’s pleas.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi further said Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was free to decide on the resignations of the rebel legislators within such time-frame as deemed appropriate by him. The court also said the speaker's decision be put before it. The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said the speaker's discretion in taking a decision on the resignation of the 15 MLAs should not be fettered by the court's directions or observations and he should be free to decide the issue. The bench, while pronouncing the order, said it was necessary to maintain the constitutional balance in the matter. The court said other issues raised in the matter would be decided at a later stage.
While Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy immediately declined to comment on the top court’s verdict, BJP leader and former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa called the verdict a ‘moral victory’ for the lawmakers. "I welcome the Supreme Court decision. It is a victory of the Constitution and democracy. It is a moral victory for rebel MLAs. "It is only an interim order and in the future, the SC will decide the power of the speaker. It will set a new trend in the parliamentary democracy," Yeddyurappa said.
The rebel MLAs had told the court that the Speaker kept their resignation pending just to disqualify them and there was nothing wrong in resigning to escape disqualification. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the rebel MLAs, submitted before the bench that the Speaker can be directed to decide on the resignation of the MLAs by 2 PM and he can take a call on their disqualification later.
The apex court, which was dealing with the plea of 10 rebel MLAs on July 12, will now be hearing five more lawmakers who have sought identical relief that Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar accept their resignations as well. The five MLAs -- Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj, Munirathna and Roshan Baig -- mentioned their application before a bench of Chief Justice Gogoi and Justice Gupta Monday seeking impleadment as parties to the pending plea on which it was ordered that the speaker would not take any decision till Tuesday on the resignations and disqualifications.
(With agency inputs)