Fourteen of 17 disqualified Karnataka legislators from the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress moved the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision, PTI reported.
Kumar had disqualified three rebel MLAs – R Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli on July 25 till the end of the Assembly’s term in 2023. The rest – Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, K Sudhakar, Muniratna, MTB Nagaraj and Shrimant Patil, and JD(S) legislators H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Gopalaiah – were disqualified on July 28. It brought down the strength of the House to 207. The 14 former Congress MLAs were expelled from the party on Tuesday for anti-party activities.
The rebels have requested the court to ask for records of their disqualification proceedings and the Kumar’s deliberations on their resignation letters, The News Minute reported. They have also urged the Supreme Court to issue an appropriate writ, order or direction to quash and set aside Kumar’s disqualification order dated July 28. They claimed to have tendered their resignations on July 6, six days before the Congress filed disqualification petitions against them.
The legislators’ resignations led to the collapse of the 14-month old Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government last month. At a trust vote on July 23, the alliance received support from 99 MLAs while 105 legislators voted against it. The coalition had come to power in May 2018, when Karnataka ended up with a fractured mandate after the Assembly elections.
If the Supreme Court upholds Ramesh Kumar’s verdict, the MLAs’ hopes of fighting bye-elections and becoming ministers in the BS Yediyurappa government will be dashed. On Wednesday, the state Congress had filed a caveat in the Karnataka High Court against any change to the former Speaker’s disqualification order.