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Karnataka Speaker ‘free to take call on resignation of rebel MLAs’, says SC; floor test tomorrow

The court further said that the rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the trust vote on Thursday.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the Karnataka Speaker “cannot be forced to take a decision” on the resignation of 15 rebel MLAs “within a time frame”.

The apex court said Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was free to decide on resignations of the MLAs.

The court said that the discretion of Karnataka Assembly Speaker in deciding resignation should not be fettered by direction or observations of court.

In the interim order, the Supreme Court said it is imperative to maintain a Constitutional balance.

The court further said that the rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the trust vote on Thursday.

Soon after the verdict, the Karnataka Congress tweeted, “‘Operation Kamala’ failed”.

Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar welcomed the verdict and said that he will try to live up to the confidence of the Supreme Court put in him.

The BJP, however, slammed the Karnataka Chief Minister and asked him to resign ahead of the floor test.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition government is under threat of being reduced to a minority as 16 of their MLAs resigned from the assembly while two independents too withdrew their support to the alliance and aligned with the BJP.

Arguments raged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday with the rebel MLAs and the Speaker presenting their views on the resignations.

The Speaker had requested the Supreme Court to vacate its July 12 status quo order to enable him to decide both the resignation and disqualification proceedings together.

The counsel for the rebel lawmakers, Mukul Rohatgi, argued before the court that they “cannot be forced to attend the Assembly”, adding that the resignations “cannot be mixed with disqualification”.

15 rebel MLAs had moved the Supreme Court alleging that they were being threatened and that the Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh was sitting on their resignation letters in violation of the Constitution.

Despite the court’s order to spell out his decision on the resignations, Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar chose to reserve his decision claiming that he needs more time to verify whether the resignations tendered by the MLAs were voluntary or forced.