‘Depends on our self-restraint’: Top court’s comeback to Karnataka Speaker on rebel MLAs
Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to vacate its last week’s directive that stopped him from deciding the resignation and disqualification of the 16 rebel lawmakers. Ramesh Kumar, who was represented in the top court by senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi, also questioned the Supreme Court’s powers to intervene before the Speaker took a decision. This, Singhvi said, would be destructive of the constitutional scheme.
The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which spent a larger part of the day listening to the Speaker, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the rebel lawmakers, will deliver its verdict on the status of the 16 MLAs at 10.30 pm tomorrow.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi responded to this argument, recalling the top court’s order in May last year that required then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the assembly within 24 hours, not 15 days as decided by the governor. The truncated 24-hour deadline had then led to the fall of the short-lived Yeddyurappa government since it did not have the time to find willing Congress and JDS lawmakers ready to make the switch. Yeddyurappa had to resign and HD Kumaraswamy was sworn-in as chief minister with support from the Congress.
“The exercise of jurisdiction of this court depends on the extent of self-restraint we have. There is no inflexible rule to exercise our jurisdiction. This Court ordered a floor test within 24 hours, appointed a protem speaker… Where’s the issue of jurisdiction... Just because it was in your favour, you were okay,” the bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi remarked during the hearing into petitions by 16 Congress and Janata Dal Secular lawmakers who wanted an early decision on their resignation.
The top court also underscored out that if the speaker had decided on the resignation letters when he got them, there would have been no scope to file the disqualification petition. “What stopped the speaker to accept or reject the resignation letters,” the bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi said.