NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered status quo regarding ten Karnataka MLAs till it hears the matter again on July 16.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also asked the Speaker not to decide on disqualification or resignation of MLAs till that date as weighty Constitutional issues needed to be addressed first.
An hour-long hearing saw gripping arguments from senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for MLAs, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi for the Speaker of the assembly Ramesh Kumar and senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan for the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
Rohtagi began his arguments by stating that Speaker could be given a day or two to decide but he can't challenge the authority of this court.
This led CJI to intervene and ask, “Is the Speaker challenging the authority of this court? Is the Speaker saying Supreme court should keep its hands off?.
At this Singhvi defends Speaker and says, “Speaker will decide the disqualification first. Speaker is a very senior member of the assembly and he knows the Constitutional law. He can't be maligned and lampooned like this.”
Singhvi urges the bench not to entertain the plea as the petition can't be entertained under Article 32 since there is no violation of the fundamental right.
Echoing the same views, Rajeev Dhavan told the bench that Speaker was doing his constitutional duty, to ascertain whether the resignations were voluntary and genuine and states that the petition filed by MLAs is "overtly political".
Dhavan further points out that the petition was based on claims of maladministration, scams, standstill in Karnataka government, however, some of these MLAs themselves were involved in those scams and these grounds were not enough for the apex court to intervene like this.
Dhavan says Speaker should get adequate time to decide.
The order came on plea filed by rebel MLAs who had moved apex court alleging that the Karnataka Assembly Speaker was not accepting their resignations.
The MLAs who have filed the petition are Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, B C Patil, S T Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, A H Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.