As the political crisis in Karnataka is developing, the Supreme Court on Thursday passed a significant order directing the rebel MLAs to appear before the Speaker at 6 PM today to submit their resignations.
The Speaker has been requested to take a decision on them during the remaining course of the day. The Court will consider the matter further tomorrow.
The Bench comprising of Chief Justice Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose was hearing the plea of ten rebel MLAs alleging that the Speaker has failed in his constitutional duty by purposefully procrastinating the acceptance of their resignations.
"The state of affairs is that we are now 15 MLAs who have resigned. First, on July 1, we had tendered the resignations in person to the Speaker. Then on the 6th, there was to be a delegation, but when the Speaker saw us coming, he made himself scarce through the backdoor...Yesterday, we were manhandled...Under 190, I don't have to give any reasons for my resignation. The Speaker is not doing his duty. Now the party has moved for our disqualification. Tomorrow is the first day of House and resignations have not been decided...and this is the same State Assembly for which this court was moved in May last year and an urgent hearing was convened..." submitted Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday.
"How many (MLAs) are there? 15? And you appear for only 10? And you want to resign?", confirmed Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Answering in the affirmative, Mr. Rohatgi continued,
"I am surprised that I cannot resign!...('Nothing surprises us', quipped the Chief Justice)...Some of us are in Mumbai and some matters are going on there also. But we can got to the Speaker in Bangalore at 5, 6, or 7 (PM). We want to present ourselves. He should decide the matter...How can this be a bone of contention? There are instances where people resign and then withdraw their resignations! But this is not that case. The idea is not to defect, but resign! Let us appear before the Speaker at 6 today?". The Senior Advocate repeated that the Speaker "has the habit of making himself scarce".
On account of the events of the previous few days in Mumbai, he also prayed for security-
"Please grant us police protection. Or that of the CRPF. I have seen what is happening in Bombay. Inside and outside the hotel. ('Which hotel?', asked the Chief Justice. 'Renaissance', responded Mr. Rohatgi)..."
When the Chief Justice asked if the security was needed in Mumbai or in Karnataka, Mr. Rohatgi replied, "Karnataka. We will travel from Mumbai, land at the airport in Bangalore and go straight to the Speaker. That's where we need it"
Accordingly, the court directed the Karnataka DGP to make requisite arrangements, and requested the Speaker to meet the 10 petitioners at 6 PM on Thursday, listing the matter for further orders on Friday.
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