Karnataka speaker moves SC, seeks more time to scrutinise MLAs' resignations

'Have to verify if the resignations of the 10 rebel MLAs were voluntary or coerced'

Karnataka assembly speaker K.V. Ramesh Kumar Karnataka assembly speaker K.V. Ramesh Kumar | ANI Twitter

Karnataka assembly speaker K.V. Ramesh Kumar moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking more time to deal with the resignation issue of the 10 rebel MLAs. Ramesh Kumar, in his application, wanted the court to vacate the interim order passed in the morning by the Supreme Court directing him to meet the rebel MLAs and take a decision regarding the resignations by Thursday evening.

Seeking an urgent hearing into the matter in the Supreme Court, the speaker said informed that he has to verify if the resignations of the 10 rebel MLAs were voluntary or coerced. "Such an inquiry cannot be completed forthwith or latest by 12am," the speaker said in his plea. It was submitted by him that he is already seized of disqualification proceedings against the rebel MLAs and as per the Constitutional mandate, he has to take up the disqualifications proceedings first, reported Bar and Bench.

Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who had mentioned the matter before the Supreme Court on behalf of the speaker, told the court that such a direction, asking the Speaker to decide on the resignation of the 10 rebels, cannot be issued by the SC. 

In the interim order passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, the apex court has permitted the 10 rebel MLAs in Karnataka to appear before the speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly at 6 pm on Thursday to tender their resignations again. 

However, the Supreme Court refused to give a hearing in the matter on Thursday saying, "In the morning, we have fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow".

The 10 rebel MLAs had moved apex court alleging that the Karnataka assembly speaker was not accepting their resignations. The MLAs who have filed the petition are Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, B C Patil, S T Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, A H Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the MLAs, submitted that there is a startling state of affairs in the Karnataka assembly where 15 MLAs want to resign, but the speaker is not accepting their resignations.

He submitted that on July 6, when some rebel MLAs went to submit their resignations, the speaker left his office through the back door. Rohatgi also said one of the rebel MLAs was manhandled when he tried to reach the speaker's office on Wednesday.

He said the Karnataka assembly will meet on Friday, but before that the ruling coalition has moved a disqualification application against the rebel MLAs. "Instead of ordering for the floor test, attempt is made to disqualify the rebel MLAs. We want to resign and go to the public and seek re-election," Rohatgi submitted on behalf of his clients.