Can’t meet today’s deadline, Karnataka speaker tells SC; hearing tomorrow
Hours after the Supreme Court ordered him to decide on the resignation letters by rebel legislators by the end of day, Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday rushed back to the top court to underscore that he could meet the Congress and Janata Dal Secular rebel lawmakers in line with the top court’s ruling but may not be able to spell out his decision today.
The speaker argued that the speaker needed time to verify if the resignations tendered by the MLAs were voluntary or forced. It argued that such an inquiry could not be completed in such a short notice.
KR Ramesh Kumar’s application also asked if the top court could dictate a timeline to the Assembly Speaker.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it would take up the speaker’s request tomorrow morning.
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On a petition filed by 10 rebel Karnataka lawmakers that accused the speaker of sitting on their resignation letters, the Supreme Court had “requested” the speaker to grant the legislators an audience at 6 pm.
If they stick to their resignation, the court order said, “the Hon’ble Speaker shall take a decision forthwith, and in any case, in the course of the remaining part of the day,” the Chief Justice’s bench that also comprises justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said.
“Such decision of the Hon’ble Speaker as may be taken in terms of the present order, be laid before the court tomorrow,” the bench said in its order, effectively telling the speaker to wrap up its decision by today.
Ten rebel MLAs had yesterday moved the Supreme Court against assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision to hold off on accepting their letters of resignation.
In their petition Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkhiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, B C Patil, S T Somashekar, Arbail Sivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, H D Vishwanath and Narayan Gowda, have made chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, Kumar and the Centre as respondents.
Kumar had rejected eight of 14 resignations that he had received, and said the remaining six lawmakers would have to meet him in person and convince him that their offers to demit office were not coerced. The meetings were initially planned to begin on Friday and continue through much of next week.
If the resignation of all 14 law makers, plus the two from Wednesday, are accepted, the coalition government will slip to a minority in the assembly.