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SC to pronounce verdict on Karnataka rebel MLAs’ petitions today


New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order for Wednesday on the petitions filed by 15 rebel Karnataka MLAs for giving a direction to the state Assembly Speaker to decide on their resignations.

“We will pass the order at 10.30 am — in the morning,” a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said, after hearing detailed arguments and submissions from the respective parties in the case.

The apex  court on Monday heard detailed arguments from Mukul Rohatgi, senior lawyer appearing for 15 rebel MLAs, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi for the Speaker, and Dr Rajeev Dhawan for Chief Minister of Karnataka.

The rebel MLAs told the apex court that the Cong-JD (S) coalition government has lost majority and the Speaker by keeping their resignations hanging was attempting to prolong a government which has been reduced to minority.

Earlier on Tuesday, the rebel lawmakers of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka on Tuesday accused Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar of not accepting their resignation as it would threaten the state government’s survival.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the rebel MLAs,  mentioned before the bench that 10 petitioners had given their resignations on July 10, and notices for disqualification proceedings were issued only against two of them as on that date.

“The Speaker’s role under Article 190 and 10th Schedule of Constitution is different. Therefore, pendency of disqualification proceedings is not a bar to accept resignations,” he

Rohatgi added that five more legislators have given their resignations to the Speaker, but he was not accepting them.

“Incompetent proceedings are inappropriate,” he added.

On the other hand, the Speaker had said he would need time to examine the resignation letters of the dissidents and determine whether they were coerced or voluntary.

When the Chief Justice of India asked what was the reason for disqualification petition against Karnataka legislators, advocate Rohatgi said they have no clear case for disqualification against the legislators.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, on behalf for the Speaker, said, “There is no valid resignation application before the disqualification petition. This whole exercise of date or speed or race between disqualification and resignation is incorrect.”

Singhvi requested the top court to vacate July 12 status quo order to enable the Speaker to decide both the resignations and disqualification proceedings together by Wednesday.

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