The Supreme Court today (Thursday, July 11) heard the plea of 10 rebel MLAs of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) from Karnataka and ordered them to meet the Speaker in person at 6 pm today.
The apex court also asked the Speaker to grant them an audience, hear them, and take decision forthwith or in the course of the day.The court directed the Speaker to inform his decision on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.
It also ordered Karnataka DGP to grant protection to the rebel MLAs when they arrive in Bengaluru from Mumbai.
The rebel MLAs had filed a petition in the court yesterday, alleging that Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar was not accepting their resignations deliberately.
The MLAs had alleged that the Speaker was protecting the government which is in minority now. They stated that the Assembly Session is to be begin from July 12, the same day that the MLA’s have been asked to appear person before the Speaker, which showed the “intent of the Speaker to disqualify the petitioners in a prejudged manner”.
The MLAs further said that their resignations were in consonance with the rules and the provisions of the Constitution.
The state Assembly Speaker had held on Tuesday that the resignations of nine out of 14 rebel MLAs were not in order.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Karnataka Assembly Speaker to decide on the resignation of the MLAs during the course of the day. The apex court said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.
With 16 legislators submitting their resignations, the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse. The Cabinet is expected to meet later in the day.The monsoon session of the Karnataka Legislature was supposed to begin on Friday.
The rebel MLAs are reported to have left the Mumbai hotel and are on their way to the airport.
Speaking to reporters before departure, ex-Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj said as per the Supreme Court’s direction they are leaving for Bengaluru to resubmit their resignations to Speaker. “There is no change in our stand,” he said.
He refuted charges that they are in the custody of BJP, saying“they were still members of Congress”. He added “we have only sought protection from Maharashtra government. Apart from that the local government here [Maharashtra] has nothing to do with our stay in Mumbai.:
It may be noted that the rebel MLAs have not quit the party yet.