As uncertainty looms over the fate of Congress-JD(S) government of Karnataka, two MLAs have approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to hold trust vote by tomorrow 5 PM.
The petitioners KPJP MLA R Shankar and independent MLA Nagesh state that they had withdrawn their support to ruling coalition, making it a minority government. Though the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had declared on July 12 that he will seek a trust vote in the assembly on July 18, that has not yet taken place, the petitioners say.
"Democratic principles dictate that the Govt. has to command the majority of the Legislative Assembly. The same is part of the basic structure of the Constitution, which is being violated with impunity", the petition state.
Taking advantage of the logjam, the Government, which is in minority, is taking several executive decisions like transferring the Police Officers, IAS officers, other Officials etc., allege the petitioners.
"the Hon'ble Chief Minister despite being reduced to minority is refusing to seek a vote of confidence forthwith. As a result of the concerted acts between the speaker and the Government, a minority Government which does not enjoy the confidence of the House, continues in power illegally. A purposive interpretation of article 164 r/w principles of Parliamentary Sovereignty mandate that the Chief Minister should always command the confidence of the house", states the petition.
On July 17, a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta Bose and Aniruddha Bose held that the fifteen rebel MLAs of Congress-JD(S) were at liberty to opt out of the House. This was passed in a plea by the rebel MLAs seeking to direct the Speaker to accept their resignations. The Court held that the Speaker could decide on the resignation within 'appropriate time' as he deemed fit.
Apprehending that this order might be interpreted as enabling the dissident legislators to defy any party whip issued to attend the trust vote, Congress and JD(S) on Friday filed petitions seeking a clarification that the order will not apply to party whips issued as per Schedule 10 of the Constitution.
The trust vote did not take place on Thursday as initially scheduled. Though Governor Vajubhai Vala issued a direction to the Speaker to hold trust vote by 1.30 PM on Friday, it was not followed. The Governor then gave a further ultimatum to hold the trust vote by 6 PM on Friday, which was also defied.
The petitioners state that the Governor's message to the House has to be followed in terms of Article 172(5) of the Constitution.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy said in his application in SC that the 'Governor cannot dictate to the House the manner in which the debate of confidence motion has to be taken up'.
The current crisis started on July 1 with the resignations of Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh and Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi. Ramesh was already suspended from Congress for anti-party activities. Within a week, nearly thirteen more MLAs from Congress and JD(S) resigned. They are reportedly camping at Mumbai.
Though BJP emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats after the 2018 elections, Congress and JD(S) struck an out of blue alliance, stitching up 115 strength in the 224-members house.