SC frees Speaker’s hands to decide on rebel MLAs, ties up govt in knots
Karnataka crisis: 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have quit since July 7, pushing the Congress-JD(S) coalition government to the brink of collapse.Updated: Jul 17, 2019 14:16 IST
In an interim order passed to maintain ‘constitutional balance’, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said while no time frame can be set for the Speaker to take a decision on the resignations of Karnataka rebel MLAs, the lawmakers also could not be forced to attend the trust vote scheduled for Thursday.
“Speaker should be free to take a decision, should not be fettered by any court direction,” the top court bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said while adding ‘can’t compel MLAs to attend asembly’.
The imperative necessity, at this stage, is to maintain the constitutional balance and the conflicting and competing rights that have been canvassed before us, the top court added.
The Judges added that given the stage at which the case is poised right now “we are of the view that the aforesaid questions should receive an answer only at a later stage of the proceedings.”
Sixteen MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have quit since July 7, pushing the Congress-JD(S) coalition government to the brink of collapse.
The rebels had argued in court on Tuesday that their resignations must be accepted by the Speaker and that they could not be “forced to attend the assembly”.
If the resignations are accepted, the 15-month-old coalition would be reduced to a minority in the assembly and leave it poised on the brink of collapse in the climax of a crisis that began on July 6.
The Congress-JD(S) government led by HD Kumaraswamy will face a trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly on Thursday. Last week, Kumaraswamy had said he was ready to face a confidence motion after 16 coalition MLAs resigned.
Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar is yet to accept the resignations but if he does so the 15-month-old coalition would be reduced to a minority in the assembly. The strength of the 224-member Assembly would be reduced to 209 if the speaker accepts the 16 resignations
The ruling coalition would need support of 105 MLAs to retain the government but it has a strength on only 100, this excludes the speaker who can only vote in case of a tie. The BJP has the support 105 lawmakers and an independent lawmaker is also supposed to be on their side. One member of the assembly is nominated..