Karnataka Political Crisis: Speaker says he had not decided on the resignation letters. (File) (File)
The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow the plea of 15 rebel lawmakers of the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition in Karnataka who have petitioned against the state's Speaker for not accepting their resignation. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the rebel MLAs amid the Karnataka Crisis, that they be also made parties to the pending petition.
On Thursday, the court had said there would be no decision till today on the dissident lawmakers who threaten the government's survival. Sixteen legislators of the JDS-Congress coalition and two independent lawmakers have resigned.
Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had told the court that he would need time to examine the resignation letters of the dissidents and determine whether they were coerced or voluntary.
Here are the Highlights from Supreme Court Hearing On Karnataka Crisis:
Breaking: Supreme Court to pass order in Karnataka rebel legislators' case tomorrow at 10:30 am.
Mukul Rohatgi Replies To Arguments
- The only condition for resignation is it has to be willfull and genuine which means authentic and without pressure
- Speaker cannot go into intent of the MLA
- Under 10th schedule , a notice has to be given, an investigation will take place and it can take several months
- We cannot combine the two
- The government has lost the majority and the speaker is just trying to prop up the government
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan on behalf of Karnataka Chief Minister:
It isn't about the Speaker versus the court but this is chief minister versus somebody who wants to become the chief minister. There is no case under writ jurisdiction. The Supreme Court passed an order in excess of its jurisdiction.
This isn't about if the chicken comes first or the egg. Whether the resignation came first or the disqualification isn't important. The Constitution doesn't say what has to be decided first. There is total misconception here resignation goes to the root of the democracy. Resignations can't be only about the intent but it has to be more about the motive. If the motive is to bring the government down, the Speaker is bound under the Constitution to conduct an inquiry.
The Speaker has to be satisfied about the voluntary nature and genuineness of the resignations. This court can interfere only after the decision is made, not before that. There is no scope of judicial review prior to making of a decision by the Speaker.
Dr Rajeev Dhawan, senior lawyer appearing for Karnataka Chief Minister, says, "It is the motive which is important. 11 people are hunting in a pack. They flew to Mumbai when they could have met the Speaker."
"The Supreme Court order is clear and the court should not entertain such kind of petition under Article 32 of Constitution. Speaker has acted in a mala fide manner, allegations levelled by rebel legislators are wrong," he adds.
Karnataka Assembly speaker's counsel AM Singhvi says the court cannot take away the Speaker's vested right by Article 32 petition. "Disqualification is prior to resignation and the rvil of defection is to be controlled. You may indicate the time limit. But this is not an extreme case where you should intervene."
Interrogation of Roshan Baig ends
Suspended Congress leader Roshan Baig has been allowed to leave the SIT premises after interrogation in IMA case.
Ravikante Gowda, SIT Chief, tells news agency ANI: "Roshan Baig was taken for inquiry yesterday from Bengaluru airport. He was questioned and allowed to appear on July 19 for further interrogation."
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi says there was no presentation of resignations by legislators till July 11.
"They (legislators) went to Mumbai and Supreme Court, but did not go to the Speaker. So, all resignations are subsequent to disqualification. The relevant course for the court is to let Speaker take a decision and then test him," he adds.
Speaker has sought time: Abhishek Manu Singhvi
"The court can allow the Speaker to take a decision. Let it play out and then take a judicial review of the final decision. They are saying don't allow the Speaker to take a decision. It's been less than one week," Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi says.
The Speaker has filed an application before you saying let him decide, Mr Singhvi adds. He says the Speaker will be taking a decision on both the issues together.
Chief Justice of India asks the Speaker to decide on the resignations in one week and then decide on the disqualifications.
"The court cannot direct the Speaker to take a decision like this. The Speaker has sought time to decide. According to Karnataka assembly rules, the resignation has to be in person. Disqualification and resignation cannot be unscrambled. Have to be decided by a common order," Mr Singhvi says.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi requests court to vacate July 12 status quo order to enable the Speaker to decide both the resignation and disqualification proceedings together by tomorrow.
The bench says: "You cannot question our jurisdictionary powers when we, to your benefit, had ordered a floor test, appointed a protem Speaker in a midnight hearing. The exercise of jurisdiction of our powers depends only on self-restraint. Are you trying to restrict the power of the Supreme Court."
"There is mutual constitutional respect. Ultimately the court is the master because judicial review of the decision can be made. But how can the court pass a direction at an interim stage? The speaker has to be allowed to decide," says Mr Singhvi.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi Speaks in Court
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, on behalf for the Speaker, says: "Everything that Mukul Rohatgi has said is factually wrong. 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."
"Resignation can't be an escape route to disqualification proceedings. If trust vote is a day after and a legislator resigns against the interest of the party, he can be subjected to disqualification proceedings," he says.
Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, in Supreme Court, says there can be myriad reasons, several reasons why someone might decide to resign.
"They could be ill or sick of being a part of politics. Reasons for resignation are irrelevant. There have been judgements from high courts allowing resignation to be decided first -- Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu high courts have granted the same relief. In the Kerala case, the court said resignation should be accepted immediately, even though the Speaker was scheduled to give orders on disqualification application within two days," he adds.
Legislators are not bureaucrats or public servants that they have to give reasons for resignation, he says.
"The Constitutional Court can order the speaker to decide in a particular time frame. The order from court will be similar to the order passed last week. The Speaker is being partisan. The only immunity to the Speaker is that the court would not call in question the House proceedings. Resignation is not a matter of House proceedings."
Rebel Karnataka Congress legislator Ramalinga Reddy tells news agency ANI: "I went to see a doctor, it got delayed. Speakers' office will call me, I will go today or tomorrow, whenever they call me. The reason of resignation was internal. I will have to come for the floor test, my resignation is not accepted."
Resignation doesn't require any inquiry: Mukul Rohatgi
Resignation does not require any inquiry unless the Speaker has credible material that there is coercion, the advocate says.
"We cannot be considering the decision on how the Speaker is to decide on resignation or disqualification. We only have to see whether there is Constitutional obligation on the Speaker to decide disqualification or resignation one before the other," says the Chief Justice of India.
Karnataka BJP on Roshan Baig case
Karnataka BJP on Twitter says Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met suspended Congress leader Roshan Baig at Taj West End hotel on July 12. "Everything was fine until Mr Baig pledged his support to Kumaraswamy's govt but the minute he withdrew his support opportunist HD Kumaraswamy started using state Machineries to blackmail the MLA," it has tweeted.
Chief Justice of India asks what is the reason for disqualification petition against the Karnataka legislators.
Advocate Mukul Rohatgi says the reason is for not being a disciplined soldier of the party, for not attending meetings outside the House. "They have no clear case for disqualification against the legislators. That is why February 2 disqualification plea is still pending and a second disqualification was filed only on July 10."
The Speaker has to see if resignation is voluntary or not, Mr Rohatgi says.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi speaking in court
The trust vote is on Thursday, he says. "Game is to issue a new whip. The Supreme Court order was limited to the previous whip. Idea is to overreach the court's protection. This government is in minority and that's simple math."
"The decision of a Speaker to look into whether a legislator is being forced to resign is supposed to be beneficial to the legislator. It is to make sure he is not being forced. Silence of the Speaker on resignations is deemed sanction. The SSpeaker is coercing me to continue, to sit and speak in a particular group of which I don't want to be a part of," says senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi who is in court on behalf of the legislators.
The Supreme Court, which was dealing with the plea of 10 rebel legislators on July 12, will now hear five more lawmakers who have sought identical relief that Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar accept their resignations as well.
The five legislators -- Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj, Munirathna and Roshan Baig -- mentioned their application before a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta on Monday.
Hearing on Karnataka Crisis begins in Supreme Court
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi says five more legislators have given resignation to the speaker, but the speaker is not accepting it. "Incompetent proceedings are inappropriate," he says.
Mukul Rohatgi says all 10 petitioners had given their resignations on July 10, and notice for disqualification proceedings was issued only against two of them as on that date.
"The role of the Speaker under Article 190 and 10th Schedule of Constitution is different. Therefore, pendency of disqualification proceedings is not a bar to accept resignations," he adds.
"Resignations can't be mixed with disqualification. When I don't want to attend the assembly, can I be forced to do so?" he questions in court.
Roshan Baig's advocate files petition in High Court: Report
Roshan Baig's advocate has filed a petition in High Court questioning the detention of his client in connection with IMA case, reports news agency ANI.
BJP's direct involvement in destabilising government: HD Kumaraswamy
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Twitter had informed about the special investigation team's (SIT) action against Roshan Baig, claiming a BJP legislator was present with Mr Baig on a chartered plane before he was detained. The chief minister has alleged that the legislator's presence proved the BJP's involvement in destabilising the Congress-Janata Dal Secular government.
Mr Kumaraswamy took to Twitter to affirm his claims: "BJP's Yogeshwar was present at the time there. Its a shame that @BJP4Karnataka is helping a former minister escape, who is facing a probe in the IMA case. This clearly shows BJP's direct involvement in destabilizing the govt through horse trading."
However, the twitter handle of Karnataka BJP said that it is false that BS Yeddyurappa's Personal Assistant (PA) Santosh was with Mr Baig. "It is false that @BSYBJP's PA Santhosh was travelling along with Mr Baig. CM is peddling fake news & misleading the state. It was only Mr Baig who was travelling & their was no 2nd passenger. We demand to check boarding passes & CCTV footage to put out the facts."
Roshan Baig being questioned at CID Headquarters
Suspended Congress leader Roshan Baig, who was on Monday detained at Bengaluru airport in connection with the multi-crore IMA Ponzi scam, is being questioned at the CID Headquarters at Carlton House in Bengaluru.