Two rebel Karnataka MLAs on Monday moved the Supreme Court against Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision to disqualify them from the Assembly, IANS reported. Earlier in the day, Kumar resigned from his post soon after officiating the floor test of the new BS Yediyurappa-led government. The chief minister and his Bharatiya Janata Party won the trust vote.
The MLAs – Ramesh Jharkhiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli were disqualified by the Speaker on July 25. They sought directions from the top court to quash the Speaker’s decision to disqualify them from the House. Another Congress MLA R Nagesh who was disqualified with them also filed a separate plea in the court to quash the disqualification order. However, Advocate Shubranshu Padhi said Nagesh’s petition was disqualified and it was likely to be filed on Tuesday, The Indian Express reported.
Jharkhiholi and Kumathalli termed the Speaker’s decision as “arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution which relates to fundamental rights”. They said it violated their Constitutional right under Article 190.
They said the order issued by Speaker was contradictory. “As it holds on the one hand that the petitioners appeared before him and submitted their resignations in person and on the other hand goes on to hold that the resignations are not voluntary and genuine,” their petition read.
They said his order to disqualify was illegal and in violation of the principles of natural justice.
“The impugned order is not in consonance with the provisions of Rules 6 and 7 of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of Members on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, in as much as they were not given seven days’ notice before the matter was taken up for hearing,” the Congress MLAs said in the petition.
The petitioners also urged the court to call records in connection with their resignation and disqualification proceedings.
“The purported finding of the Speaker that the petitioners had been making efforts for defection of MLAs from the then ruling party by offering money, power is wholly erroneous and is based on no evidence,” they added.
Former Janata Dal (Secular) President and rebel Karnataka legislator AH Vishwanath had also said on Sunday that the disqualified MLAs will approach the Supreme Court. He had said they will challenge the decision as it was “against the law”.
A day ahead of the trust vote, the Speaker had disqualified 14 MLAs – 11 from Congress and three from Janata Dal (Secular) – till the end of the current session in 2023. This brought the total number of MLAs who had been disqualified to 17. After the disqualifications, the strength of the House came down to 208. The BJP has 105 MLAs, just enough to have a majority.