The political crisis in Karnataka continued to fester as five more rebel MLAs approached the Supreme Court on Saturday, accusing Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh of sitting on their resignations. The legislators also said they were “being threatened to support the government on the threat of disqualification”.
Those who moved the court Saturday are Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraju, Roshan Baig and Munirathna.
Their application, filed through advocate Shubhranshu Padhi, sought to implead in the main plea filed by 10 other MLAs. It said the resignation letters of four — Singh, Sudhakar, Nagaraju and Baig — of the five MLAs were submitted to the Speaker in person.
Acting on the plea by the 10 MLAs, the Supreme Court had on July 11 asked the Speaker to decide on the resignations before the end of the day. The Speaker, however, said this was not possible, as under the Constitution, he was required to conduct an “enquiry” to ascertain whether the resignation was voluntary and genuine and that he would need more time for this.
Opposing this stand of the Speaker, the five legislators said the Constitution “contemplates only an inquiry to be conducted and not an enquiry and therefore there is no necessity of any elaborate hearing. The inquiry is directed only for two considerations i.e., a) whether the resignation is voluntary and b) whether it is genuine. lt is submitted that once the MLA himself states that the resignation is voluntary, there is no scope for any inquiry on this account. Even for the second ground, namely it must be ‘Genuine’ when the person concerned submits it in person under his own signature, the said ground is also answered. Both these conditions being fulfilled, elaborate enquiry is not contemplated in the present scenario”.
They said there were no disqualification proceedings against them on the date of their resignation and hence there was no ground to deny them the right of the resignation on the ground of pendency of disqualification proceedings. The resignation cannot be invalidated by filing disqualification proceedings subsequently, they added.
They claimed that the subsequent disqualification petition against them was filed by the Congress party stating that they had not attended the legislature party meeting held outside the House. “It is submitted that the non-attendance of the legislature party meeting outside the house does not amount to a ground for disqualification”.
The MLAs claimed that the disqualification proceedings were being “used to threaten and intimidate” them.
“It is stated that on the one hand the Hon’ble Speaker is not acting upon the resignations and on the other hand a whip has been issued by the Governing party threatening disqualification for failure to attend the legislature proceedings starting from 12.7.19…It is submitted that despite the Applicants having resigned, the Applicants are being threatened to support the Govt. on the threat of disqualification”, their plea submitted.
On July 12, the SC ordered a status quo in the matter, asking the Speaker not to decide on the disqualifications or resignations till it heard the matter again on July 16.