Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar should decide on resignation of rebel MLAs, rules Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar should decide on the resignations of the rebel MLAs. More importantly, the top court said that the rebel lawmakers can’t be compelled to take part in tomorrow’s floor test. The apex court also added that no time frame can’t be fixed as to when should the Speaker decide on the resignations. In its interim order, top court said that, “Imperative to maintain Constitutional balance. Speaker to decide on resignation of 15 MLAs within appropriate time frame 15 MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in proceedings of Assembly till Speaker decides.” “Larger legal questions need to be decided and deserves an answer only at a later stage,” the Supreme Court added. A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose pronounced today’s order.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar said that he ‘welcomes Supreme Court’s judgment.’ “Hold judiciary in high esteem. The top court has increased my responsibilities. I will try to live up to the confidence of the Supreme Court,” Kumar added.
During ysetrday's hearing, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had observed that after the Supreme Court gave an elevated position to the Speaker and what happened in last 20-30 years, "a serious rethinking is required on this elevated position of Speaker." Appearing for the Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that, “"All the disqualification petitions pre-date their resignation since the first time these MLAs properly handed over their resignation was only July 11."
The rebel MLAs 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.
The top court had on Friday restrained the Speaker from taking any decision till July 16 on the resignation and disqualification of the rebel MLAs. The top court had said an incidental question that would arise in the matter is the kind and extent of the directions that should be issued by a constitutional court to another constitutional functionary, which in the present case happens to be the Speaker of the Assembly.