Amid the twists and turns, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday allowed 10 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Karnataka to meet the Speaker and convey to him their decision to resign. The 10 MLAs will meet the Speaker by 6 pm on Thursday, the court said.
The court will hear the matter again on Friday based on a decision taken by the Speaker, a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said. The court also directed the Director General of Police of Karnataka to ensure police protection to the MLAs once they reached Bengaluru from Mumbai, where they are currently camping in a hotel.
Later in the day on Thursday, the Speaker of the Assembly approached the court with a plea that he could not be directed to give a hearing to the rebel MLAs. The court, however, said that an order in the case had been passed earlier in the morning and refused to give him a hearing.
The 10 rebel MLAs who have moved SC have alleged that the Assembly Speaker was not accepting their resignations. The MLAs of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S) coalition, 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.
The 10 MLAs have also alleged that when they initially went to meet the Speaker of the Assembly on July 6, he left his office through the backdoor to avoid meeting them.
Thirteen MLAs — 10 of the Congress and three of the JD(S) — submitted their resignation to the Speaker’s office on July 6. Another Congress MLA, R Roshan Baig, resigned on Tuesday. The ruling coalition’s total strength is 116 — Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and Bahujan Samaj Party 1, besides the Speaker. With the support of two Independents, who resigned on July 8, the Bharatiya Janata Party has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the halfway mark is 113. If the resignations of the 14 MLAs are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 102. The Speaker also has a vote.
(With inputs from PTI)