The Karnataka unit of the Congress on Wednesday criticised the Supreme Court’s order on the rebel MLAs, calling it a “bad judgement” that seemed to protect the “defectors” and encourage horse-trading. The Supreme Court had earlier in the day said that the 15 rebel legislators from the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) cannot be compelled to take part in the floor test on Thursday.

“Supreme Court order seems perfectly coordinated to help the rebel MLAs to violate the whip,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted. “It has set a wrong precedent as the value of the Whip as per 10th schedule of the Constitution is now redundant. An extraordinary order indeed!!!”

“The #SupremeCourt verdict is now encroaching upon the rights of the Legislature,” Rao added. “This is a bad judgement which seems to protect the defectors and encourages horse trading and also violating the doctrine of separation of powers.”

Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party chief BS Yeddyurappa welcomed the verdict. He called it a “victory of the Constitution and democracy”. Yeddyurappa claimed that Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had lost his majority and must resign on Thursday, when the Assembly holds a trust vote. Welcoming the verdict, he called it a “moral victory for the rebel MLAs”.

Since July 1, sixteen legislators, including the 15 who moved the top court, have stepped down from their posts, plunging the state into a political crisis. They belong to the ruling coalition of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular).

The top court left it to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to decide on the resignations within an appropriate time frame, but ordered that they should not be compelled to attend the proceedings of the House.