A plea filed by the disqualified MLAs from the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka was mentioned before a Supreme Court bench on Tuesday, August 13. The MLAs had approached the top court challenging the former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar's decision to reject their resignation and disqualify them.
The issue was mentioned before a single bench of Justice Arun Mishra by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who urged the apex court to list the hearing for August 19. Justice Mishra said that the plea will be examined by the registrar.
The disqualified lawmakers from Congress - Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, AS Hebbar, S T Somashekar, Roshan Baig, Anand Singh, MTB Nagaraj, Dr K Sudhakar, Shrimanth B Patil, R Shankar, BA Basavaraja, Muniratna, Ramesh Jharkhiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli - had filed their petitions on August 1 through Advocate Subhranshu Padhi.
The JD(S) lawmakers AH Vishwanath, KC Narayanagowda and K Gopalaiah had also filed separate petitions over the decision to revoke their assembly membership.
The disqualified MLAs argued that the former Speaker's decision was "wholly illegal, arbitrary and malafide". They said he had erratically rejected their resignations and the decision was made in haste and was unjustified. They also said that their resignations were genuine and voluntary.
Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar had declared 17 disgruntled legislators from the coalition not efficient to continue as MLAs for the 15th legislative assembly and had expelled them on July 28.
The disqualification was made under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of Constitution (anti-defection law) after the Congress-JD(S) coalition and would last till the end of the term of Assembly on 23 May 2023.
The disgruntled MLAs claim that their termination from the Assembly was unconstitutional as it was against Article 361-B of the Indian Constitution.
"The impugned order is not in consonance with the provisions of Rules 6 and 7 of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of Members on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, inasmuch as, they were not given seven days' notice before the matter was taken up for hearing," Deccan Herald quoted the MLAs as saying.