The 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that they have an "indefeasible right" to resign as members of the Assembly and the decision by the then Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to disqualify them smacks of "vengeance".
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for some of the disqualified MLAs, told a three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana that Mr Kumar had "violated" the top court's order by deciding against them.
He had disqualified these MLAs, eventually leading to the fall of the Congress-JDS government headed by HD Kumaraswamy.
Mr Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in the state under BS Yediyurappa.
Meanwhile, the bench stayed the proceeding pending before the Karnataka High Court on a separate plea challenging the Election Commission's notification deferring the by-elections to 15 assembly seats.
Last month, the Election Commission had told the top court that it would defer the upcoming by-polls to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka, scheduled for October 21, till a decision on the disqualified MLAs' appeal.
It had issued notification deferring the by-polls and fixed November 11 as the new date for commencement of Model Code of Conduct in Karnataka.
During the hearing, Mr Rohatgi told the bench that speaker had not given the mandatory seven days to these MLAs to respond to disqualification applications moved against them.
"There is no doubt that a member has a indefeasible right to resign from the house. It is only to be seen that the resignation is voluntary and genuine," he said.
"The whole thing smacks of vengeance and mala fide," Rohatgi said, adding that "reasonable opportunity" was not given to these MLAs to respond to disqualification applications.
He said even if the disqualification of these MLAs is valid, it will be so till next elections and they can contest the by-polls.
"Our resignations should have been accepted by the speaker. There was no material to disqualify us," he said, adding, "The motive for my resignation could be anything. He (speaker) should not be bothered about my motive. He has to only look if the resignation is voluntary and genuine".