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Two rebel Congress leaders move SC against disqualification from Karnataka Assembly

Advocate Shubranshu Padhi, who had filed the petition on behalf of the disqualified MLAs, said a second petition by independent MLA R Shanker, who was also disqualified, is likely to be filed on Tuesday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 29, 2019 7:07:09 pm
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Two rebel Karnataka Congress leaders on Monday moved the Supreme Court, seeking quashing of Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision to disqualify them from the Assembly. Kumar, meanwhile, announced his resignation soon after newly appointed Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa won the confidence motion by a voice vote.

Seeking quashing of the July 25 order of the Speaker, which said the MLAs “have incurred disqualification in terms of the tenth schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law)”, rebel Congress leaders Ramesh Jharkhiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli described the decision taken by Kumar as illegal, arbitrary and mala fide exercise of his power.

Advocate Shubranshu Padhi, who had filed the petition on behalf of the disqualified MLAs, said a second petition by independent MLA R Shanker, who was also disqualified, is likely to be filed on Tuesday. Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi is likely to mention the plea moved by Jharkhiholi and Kumathalli for early hearing.

In the petition, Jharkhiholi and Kumathalli — elected as MLAs from Gokak constituency and Athani — sought a direction to call for records of the proceedings before the Speaker pertaining to the resignation and disqualification proceedings against them.

Besides, the rebel Congress leaders also questioned the Speaker’s decision to reject their resignations by holding that it was not voluntary and genuine.

“The petitioners had resigned from the Assembly and yet their resignations have been rejected by the Speaker of the House in a mala fide manner and instead the Speaker has gone on to disqualify the Petitioners under the Xth Schedule,” the petition said.

The two rebel Congress leaders alleged that the Speaker acted in haste as he had received a letter from the then ruling party (JD-S) to take action accordingly.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, who had sought disqualification of the rebel MLAs, have been made respondents in the petition.

The two MLAs had not participated in the trust vote moved by HD Kumaraswamy as the apex court had said that the rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs cannot be compelled to take part in the proceedings of the House.

“Their right to resign from the post of MLA and carry on any vocation of their choice including public service cannot be denied by the Respondent Speaker by a completely illegal and unconstitutional order,” the petition said, adding that the action of the Speaker was thus in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners guaranteed under Articles 19 & 21.

Kumaraswamy had resigned as the Chief Minister after losing the trust vote on July 23.

Jarkhiholi, Kumatalli and R Shankar were disqualified on July 25 and on Sunday the Speaker had passed the order of disqualification against — Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna, S T Somashekar, Roshan Baig, Anand Singh, MTB Nagaraj, BC Patil, Prathap Gouda Patil, Dr Sudhakar, Shivaram Hebbar, Shrimant Patil (all Congress) and K Gopalaiah, Narayana Gowda, A H Vishwanath (all JDS).

With the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs by the Speaker, the effective strength of the 225-member Assembly has been reduced to 208.

(With PTI inputs)

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