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Post SC order all eyes on Speaker in Karnataka MLA resignation Crisis

The coalition government in Karnataka became shakey after 16 MLAs ., 13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S) – resigned from Assembly membership.
 
Out of the 16, 10 MLAs’ resignations were found to be not in the right format. The Supreme Court on last Friday asked Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to not take any decision on resignation or disqualification.
 
However, Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy called for a floor test on July 12, 2019, to prove the government’s majority in the Assembly. The Speaker allotted a slot on July 18 for the floor test.
 
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order for Wednesday at 10.30 a.m. on a plea made by as many as 15 rebel MLAs from Karnataka for a direction to the Speaker to decide on their resignations.
 
Today Supreme Court has said that attending or not attending is left to the Choice of MLAs.
 
The Supreme Court said the 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs of the state’s ruling coalition “ought not” to be compelled to take part in the proceedings of the Assembly, which is slated to decide on the confidence motion moved by the HD Kumaraswamy-led government on Thursday.
 
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, also said the speaker is free to decide on the resignations of the rebel legislators within the time-frame decided by him.
 
“With utmost humility I welcome and respect the Supreme Court decision,” Kumar said soon after the apex court pronounced its order on the issue that has pushed the state into political turmoil.
 
“The Supreme Court has put extra burden on me, I will conduct myself responsibly in accordance with constitutional principle,” he told reporters in Kolar, his home town.
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The Congress-JD(S) coalition appears to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find legal options to counter the rebel legislators, who now have the option to abstain from the confidence motion coming up on July 18.
 
A delegation comprising Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and others held talks with Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar seeking clarification on the Supreme Court’s interim order.
 
Gowda, a former Law minister, pointed out that while the Apex court had stated that the rebel MLAs cannot be coerced into being present during the confidence motion, there was no relaxation given to existing House rules that require MLAs to seek leave of absence from the Speaker.
 
2018 Karnataka Assembly election mandate
However Assembly rules state that such MLAs have to seek permission. We asked Speaker if this relaxation had been granted. He said they have to seek permission,” Gowda told reporters.
 
The interim order issued by the Supreme Court “indirectly” infringes on the rights of the Congress and JD(S) legislature parties, Gowda added.
 
“We were not even called by the Supreme Court and the order has restricted our rights. We have the right to impose a whip.
 
We asked Speaker to clarify this, to which he said we were free to challenge it. He said if somebody violates the whip, it was for us to move a petition against the violators and he’d take a call on it later,” Gowda said.
 
To a question, he said that both parties were in favour of issuing a whip and a final decision was expected soon.
 
Karnataka polity has entered a period of calm before the storm as rebel MLAs are allegedly under lockdown and cannot be approached for parleys, while BJP MLAs play cricket at a Bengaluru hotel.
 
The SC verdict on Wednesday has stirred the pot again with the trust vote set to take place on Thursday. Stay tuned with IndiaToday.in for the latest updates on Karnataka political crisis.
Splco Reporter
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