The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear the plea of 15 rebel legislators of Karnataka’s ruling coalition against the delay by Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in accepting their resignations. Sixteen MLAs of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have submitted their resignations since July 1.
Ten of the rebel MLAs had moved the Supreme Court last week as the Speaker refused to accept some resignations immediately and found faults in others. On July 11, the court asked the rebel MLAs to meet Kumar and instructed the speaker to take a decision by the end of the day. However, Kumar said he needed time to scrutinise and get clarity on the resignation letters before accepting them.
The next day, the court ordered status quo on the resignations till it decides larger constitutional questions in the matter, primarily whether a court can issue directions to the speaker. It adjourned the hearing till July 16.
Five more rebel Congress MLAs moved the court on July 13. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it would hear their plea along with the pending petition of the 10 MLAs.
The 10 MLAs, from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), are Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrathi Basavaraj, BC Patil, ST Somasekhar, AS Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, HD Vishwanath and Narayan Gowda. The five MLAs who filed the plea later were K Sudhakar, Roshan Baig, MTB Nagaraj, Muniratna, and Anand Singh. The rebel MLA who has not filed a plea is senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy, a seven-time legislator and a former home minister in the state government.
The government of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will face a trust vote in the Assembly on July 18. Kumaraswamy had on Friday offered to move a confidence motion to prove that his coalition government has the numbers to stay in power. The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government will try to win over the rebel legislators till then. If the MLAs do not return to their parties before the trust vote, the government will have the support of only 100 MLAs, while the Bharatiya Janata Party will have the support of 107 MLAs. With a reduced size of 207, the majority mark will drop to 104.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has said it is ready for the floor test, as it believes the government has lost its majority. The party has called for Kumaraswamy to resign. BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa on Monday said he was confident of forming the government in the next four to five days, PTI reported.
“Kumaraswamy will not be able to continue as chief minister,” Yeddyurappa said. “He too knows it. I think he will quit after making a good speech [in the Assembly].”