The twists and turns in the resignation of 15 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the subsequent pending floor test continued on Friday as Chief Minister of the State H D Kumaraswamy rejected Governor Vajubhai Vala’s directions that the trust vote be conducted by 6 PM on Friday. The CM said he would now take the floor test on Monday.
Earlier in the day, both Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and CM Kumaraswamy had moved the Supreme Court with separate applications seeking clarification of the July 17 order of the top court. In their petition filed on Friday, Rao and CM Kumaraswamy sought clarification of the top court’s July 17 order, and said that “the constitutional rights of the applicants under the Tenth Schedule are vitally affected”.
“The Tenth Schedule a political party has a constitutional right to issue a whip to its legislators. The exercise of this right under the Constitution is not circumscribed by any condition nor can it be subject to any restrictive orders from the Court even prior to the issuance of the whip,” Rao said in his petition.
In a similarly worded petition, CM Kumaraswamy also challenged Governor Vajubhai Vala’s directions that the trust vote be held before 1:30 pm on Friday, pleading that no such direction could have been issued by the Governor when the confidence motion had already been initiated. The aforesaid directions of the Governor were completely contrary to the well settled law laid down by this Supreme Court in relation to the Governor's powers, the CM's petition said.
On July 17, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said that while the Speaker of the legislative assembly K R Ramesh Kumar was free to decide on the resignation of the 15 MLAs within a time-frame he considered appropriate, the MLAs who had resigned could not be forced to take part in the assembly proceedings in the interim. The top court had also said that larger question of whether the Speaker could be issued directions by a court would be decided at a later stage.
The Congress-JD (S) government had a total of 117 MLAs in its fold, before 16 of these elected representatives -- 13 from the Congress, three from JD(S) -- resigned about 10 days ago. Two other independent MLAs, S Shankar and H Nagesh have also since withdrawn their support to the coalition government and expressed intent to support the Bharatiya Janata Party.
With 99 MLAs by his side, it will take a mammoth effort on the part of Kumaraswamy to save the coalition from falling when he takes the trust vote on July 18 to save his 14-month-old government.
The BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, which includes the nominated MLA and the Speaker.