Madhya Pradesh Highlights: Top Court Says Rebel MLAs Can't Be Held Captive

Madhya Pradesh Crisis Updates: Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon sent a letter to Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati in the early hours today, saying that the latter made an "impartial and courageous" decision in accepting the resignations of six ministers.

Madhya Pradesh Highlights: Top Court Says Rebel MLAs Can't Be Held Captive

Kamal Nath said BJP is attempting to hijack his government (File)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court, while hearing the petition filed by BJP leaders for an immediate floor test, refused to accept the proposal for producing 16 rebel MLAs in judges' chamber. The court further said that the rebel MLAs may or may not go to the Assembly but they cannot be held captive.

 "It is their choice whether they want to enter, comply with whips etc. But certainly, when an allegation is that they are being held in captivity, we have to see they are at free will," Justice DY Chandrachud said.

The also said it is not going to interfere in deciding who enjoys the trust but it will ensure that there is a free exercise of choice which these 16 MLAs can make.

The hearing has been deferred for tomorrow at 10.30 am.

Here are the Highlights on Madhya Pradesh government crisis:

Mar 19, 2020 00:10 (IST)
Will go to Bengaluru if needed: Kamal Nath

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is mulling to go to Bengaluru to meet 16 rebel MLAs currently staying at a resort there, as his government is on a shaky ground following the resignation of these and six more legislators.
Mar 18, 2020 16:46 (IST)
Digvijay biggest dramatist in country: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan dubbed Digvijay Singh of Congress as the "biggest dramatist", hours after the latter tried to meet rebel MLAs of his party in Bengaluru but prevented by the police.

Mr Chouhan said even the rebel MLAs are wary of Singh and didn't want to meet him.
Mar 18, 2020 16:31 (IST)
Rebel Congress MLAs demand security

The rebel Congress MLAs holed up at a five star resort in Bengaluru have demanded security from the Karnataka Director General of Police. They have also refused to meet Congress leader Digvijaya Singh who had gone on Wednesday morning to meet them.
Mar 18, 2020 16:25 (IST)
Supreme Court defers hearing to tomorrow

Supreme Court refuses to send Registrar General to meet rebel MLAs, defers hearing for tomorrow 10.30 am
Mar 18, 2020 16:22 (IST)
Top Court refuses to accept the offer of rebel Congress MLAs

Supreme Court refuses to accept the offer of rebel Congress MLAs to meet them, says it would not be appropriate.

Mar 18, 2020 16:18 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh BJP writes letter to Chief Election Commissioner

Madhya Pradesh BJP has written letter to Chief Election Commissioner saying: "Digvijaya Singh, who is candidate for Rajya Sabha election has gone to Bengaluru along with others, to pressurise 16 MLAs (lodged at Ramada hotel) to vote in his favour, violating Model Code of Conduct".

"It is, therefore, requested to take appropriate action against Digvijaya Singh (Congress leader) and others so that Rajya Sabha elections are conducted peacefully and in democratic manner," the letter further said.
Mar 18, 2020 16:17 (IST)
Digvijaya Singh to file petition seeking access to rebel MLAs in Bangalore

Mar 18, 2020 14:24 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath says: "Digvijaya (Singh) is our Rajya Sabha candidate, he went to meet MLAs but he was told that he is security risk. He became a security risk amid 500 Karnataka police personnel? This shows MLAs have been held hostage and the BJP is attempting to hijack the government."
Mar 18, 2020 13:28 (IST)
Speaker should conduct an inquiry: Top court

Justice DY Chandrachud says the issue is whether they (Congress rebel MLAs) have resigned will have to be tested by Speaker. "The speaker is duty bound to conduct an inquiry to see whether someone is compelled to resign," he adds.
Mar 18, 2020 13:23 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh Congress in Supreme Court seeks deferment of trust vote in House till bypolls are conducted for vacant Assembly seats, according to news agency PTI.
Mar 18, 2020 13:12 (IST)
BJP trying to strangulate the Constitution: PC Sharma

Amid the preventive arrest of senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in Bengaluru after he was not allowed to meet the rebel party MLAs from Madhya Pradesh, state Law Minister PC Sharma termed it an attempt to muzzle democracy by the BJP.

Mr Sharma said that Mr Singh, being the Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha, had every right to meet the rebel Congress MLAs

"Digvijaya Singh is a Rajya Sabha MP and also the candidate for the upcoming elections to the Upper House. He has every right to meet the candidates for asking for votes. They are trying to strangulate the Constitution, it seems even the Centre is involved in this now and the whole of BJP is trying to muzzle democracy," he says.
Mar 18, 2020 12:56 (IST)
Digvijay Singh announces hunger strike

In a tweet, Digvijay Singh says: "We have been taken to the local DCP office by Bengaluru police. I demand that we must be allowed to meet our MLAs, who are in BJP's captivity. I announce my Hunger Strike, till we are allowed to meet our MLAs. We live in Democracy, not Dictatorship."
Mar 18, 2020 12:38 (IST)
Rebel Congress MLAs write to DGP of Karnataka

22 rebel Madhya Pradesh Congress MLAs, who are currently lodged in Bengaluru, have written to Karnataka's Director General of Police, requesting that no Congress leader or member be allowed to meet them to ensure that there is no threat to their life and security, reports news agency ANI.
Mar 18, 2020 12:36 (IST)
A Congress delegation is expected to meet Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon today at 1.45pm.
Mar 18, 2020 12:34 (IST)
Balance should be struck: Top Court

Justice DY Chandrachud says a balance should be struck between the constitutional responsibility of the Madhya Pradesh Cabinet to the people as well as to the Legislative Assembly.
Mar 18, 2020 12:34 (IST)
"If the need arises I'll go there," says Kamal Nath on being asked if he will go to meet the Congress MLAs who are lodged in Ramada hotel in Bangalore.
Mar 18, 2020 12:13 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh crisis: Hearing in top court continues

Justice DY Chandrachud, hearing the case in top court, says: "Court shouldn't thwart the collective responsibility of the cabinet is what we are also concerned about."
Mar 18, 2020 12:12 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh hearing in top court: What the Congress lawyer said

"Is this democracy? MLAs have been kidnapped..," Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, says in court. 

Mr Dave says the Speaker needs to examine if resignations are genuine or not.

"When Gujarat MLAs were shifted to Bangalore, the BJP used CRPF and IT department to carry out raids... A Congress-mukt Bharat is what the PM (Modi) has said openly. But can a floor test be ordered in the absence of MLAs in a parliamentary democracy? Is this the kind of responsibility we want? Who produced the resignation letters -- BJP. Who accompanied them -- BJP. And in the middle of the night, the governor issued missives," says Mr Dave.

It is not a simple question of floor test, he says. "It is question of destroying democracy by muzzle power."

"The Madhya Pradesh government has worked for 18 months. The BJP hijacked MLAs... Do we want this at the time when the world is going through such a serious crisis? Is this the time? Can democracy be allowed to be hijacked like this?"

"BJP is a responsible party and can this be expected from a responsible party? Tomorrow the party will abduct MLAs from the states it does not have majority in and come to Supreme Court and say court is bound by the floor test. Court should not entertain this matter."
Mar 18, 2020 12:02 (IST)
Supreme Court begins hearing on Madhya Pradesh Congress plea

Madya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's lawyer Dushyant Dave says MLAs are expected to serve in their constituencies and aren't supposed to get up one day and say they want to resign.

The governor asking the chief minister to take a floor test is unconstitutional, he adds.

A verbal tussle ensues between BJP's lawyer Mukul Rohatgi and Dushyant Dave -- Mr Dave says: "This court is at your mercy. You keep everyone waiting for 50 minutes, then you come in and say you want to interrupt. And then you say you are the top lawyer of this country."

Justice DY Chandrachud, hearing the matter along with Justice Hemant Gupta, pacifies Mr Dave after which he resumes his arguments in court.
Mar 18, 2020 11:52 (IST)
Digvijay Singh met the Commissioner of Police who said he cannot do anything about the present situation. Mr Singh is now going to meet the DGP-IGP Praveen Sood.
Mar 18, 2020 10:40 (IST)
The police have released Digvijay Singh and others. He wanted to meet Congress MLAs after his release, but was taken to meet the Commissioner of Police Bhaskar Rao to lodge his complaint.
Mar 18, 2020 10:22 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh government: Digvijay Singh says MLAs not being allowed to speak to anyone

Digvijay Singh says: "MLAs can't speak to the chief minister, and MLAs can't speak to their family members. They can't speak to Speaker... or to party leaders. MLAs will only speak under controlled circumstances and glare of goons posted by opposition. This is being called democracy!"

"I am a Rajya Sabha candidate from Madhya Pradesh, voting is scheduled for March 26. My MLAs have been kept here, they want to speak to me, their phones have been snatched, the police is not letting me speak to them saying there is a security threat to MLAs," Mr Singh says.
Mar 18, 2020 08:50 (IST)
Karnataka BJP misusing power: DK Shivakumar

Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar says: "The BJP government in state is misusing the power. We have our own political strategy, we know how to handle the situation. He's not alone here. I'm here. I know how to support him. But I don't want to create a law and order situation in Karnataka."
Mar 18, 2020 08:48 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh Crisis: Digvijaya Singh says he will start hunger strike

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has been taken to Amruthahalli Police Station in Bengaluru. He says that he is on a hunger strike now.
Mar 18, 2020 08:22 (IST)
Congress MLAs say they have been held captive: Digvijaya Singh

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tells news agency ANI: "We were expecting them to come back, but when we saw they are being held back, messages came from their families... I personally spoke to 5 MLAs, they said they're captive, phones snatched away, there is police in front of every room. They are being followed 24/7."

Mar 18, 2020 08:14 (IST)
Supreme Court to hear today the petition filed by former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and others to hold floor test in the State Assembly.
Mar 18, 2020 08:11 (IST)
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh went on a sit-in outside Bengaluru hotel where rebel Madhya Pradesh MLAs are staying. He was soon detained.
Mar 18, 2020 08:10 (IST)
Digvijay Singh taken into preventive custody

Congress leader Digvijay Singh has been taken into preventive custody and will be released in a while. DK Shivakumar has not been taken into preventive custody.
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