The Supreme Court will pronounce its order Wednesday morning on the pleas of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs seeking direction for Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to accept their resignations from the Assembly.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi concluded the hearings of the rebel MLAs, the Speaker and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
Summing up the arguments, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 15 MLAs, asked the bench to continue with its interim order directing the Speaker to maintain status quo on the issue of resignations and disqualification of the MLAs.
The counsel for the rebel MLAs also asked the bench that if the House assembles for business the 15 rebel MLAs be exempted from appearing on the basis of the whip of the ruling coalition which, he said, has been reduced to minority government.
Kumaraswamy told the top court that it had no jurisdiction to pass the two interim orders asking the Speaker to decide and, later, to maintain the status quo on the resignations and disqualification of the rebel MLAs.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Kumaraswamy, told the bench that the Speaker cannot be compelled to decide this issue in a time bound manner.
“When resignation process is not in order, court cannot direct Speaker to decide by 6PM,” Dhavan told the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.
Kumaraswamy also told the court that the rebel MLAs were hunting in a pack to destabilise his government and that the court should not have entertained their petitions.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, told the bench that no direction was issued to the Karnataka Speaker by the court in the midnight hearing when floor test was ordered and BS Yedurappa was invited to form the government last year.
He told the bench that the Speaker was yet to decide on the resignations and disqualification of rebel MLAs and the court had ample power to punish.
Speaker urged the apex court to modify its earlier order directing him to maintain status quo in the ongoing political crisis in the state even as the rebel MLAs accused him of acting in a partisan manner by not deciding on their resignations.
Singhvi said the Speaker would decide on both disqualifications and resignation of the rebel MLAs by Wednesday but the court should modify its earlier order asking him to maintain status quo.
Rohtagi argued that the Speaker cannot keep the resignation of these MLAs pending and by doing so he is acting in a partisan manner.