Karnataka rebel MLAs on Tuesday replied to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s summon and sought time to appear before him. In their signed letters, the rebel lawmakers asked for four weeks of time. “As you are aware, I have tendered my resignation as the Member of the Legislative Assembly. In this regard, I had also approached the Supreme Court of India, wherein the Hon'ble Supreme Court has directed your goodself to consider my resignation. In spite of all this, I am informed that a petition has been filed under X schedule of the Constitution of India, by the party, seeking my disqualification. I am not in receipt of the copy of the petition or the documents annexed to the person,” the letter accessed by the News Nation read.
The letter goes on to say that the Disqualification Rule, 1986 requires minimum 7-day period. The rebels have alleged that in spite of the said rule, the ‘proceedings are being hurried up.’ “I am not in station now and require to consult my lawyer after receiving the papers.” The rebels have cited the 2011 case Balchandra L Jarkiholi vs BS Yeddyurappa for mandatory 7-day period.
Meanwhile, the fate of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka hangs in the balance as the House was adjourned without a trust vote on Monday as well. The ruling party asked the Speaker to wait for the Supreme Court's order today, he, however was adamant on his decision to have a floor test by today but later relented after Siddaramaiah's request. The House will again convene at 10 am today and the Speaker has given the ruling coalition time till 4 pm to end the debate. The voting on trust motion, moved by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will take place at 6 pm, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar said.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had refused give an early hearing on plea by two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking a direction to conclude floor test in Assembly today. Independent lawmakers R Shankar and H Nagesh, who had quit the Congress-JDS alliance, had moved the top court with the plea. In their petition, the MLAs said, “It is apprehended that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who is heading the minority government, may make himself scarce from the proceedings on 22.7.19. It has been reliably learnt that in a desperate attempt to avoid the trust vote, the Chief Minister of Karnataka may also rake up an emergent situation and use medical emergencies including hospitalisation.”
The ruling coalition's strength in the House is 117--Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the Speaker. With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker. If the resignations of the 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and 3 from JDS) are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will plummet to 101, (excluding speaker) reducing the 14-month-old Kumaraswamy government to a minority.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress moved the Supreme Court on Friday contending that its July 17 order on the resignation of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs was coming in the way of the party issuing whip to its legislators in the ongoing trust vote. The application filed by Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao sought clarification on the order, which said the 15 rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the ongoing Assembly proceedings, saying that the direction compromises with the party's right to issue whip.
It said the apex court's order "whittles down" the power of a political party to issue whip to its MLAs as it has a constitutional right to do so and the court can't restrict that.