Six rebel leaders, who were expelled by the Congress in Karnataka, moved the Supreme Court on Thursday, challenging their disqualification from the state Assembly by then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in events leading to the floor test that ultimately saw the collapse of the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government, PTI reported.
The leaders who have approached the apex court are Prathap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj and Munirathna. They have sought the top court’s direction for quashing and setting aside the order of the Speaker.
In their petition, the leaders have narrated the sequence of events leading to their disqualification and sought a direction to call for records of the proceedings before the Speaker.
The rebel leaders have alleged that the decision taken by Ramesh Kumar before his resignation as the Speaker was wholly “illegal, arbitrary and mala fide” exercise of his power under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
The leaders alleged that the Speaker acted in haste as he had received a letter from the party to take action accordingly. “The Speaker is thus in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners guaranteed under Articles 19 & 21,” the petition said.
Earlier in the week, two more rebel Congress leaders — Ramesh Jharkhiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli — had moved the apex court with a similar plea. After the fall of the Congress-JD(S) government on July 29, Ramesh Kumar had resigned from the office of the Speaker.
On Monday, the BJP government led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa Monday sailed through the confidence motion in the Assembly. A day before, Speaker Kumar had disqualified 11 Congress MLAs and three JD(S) lawmakers until the end of the current term of the House in 2023, bringing down the majority mark to 105, equivalent to the current strength of 105 of the BJP, which also enjoyed the support of an Independent.