The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati should interact with the rebel Congress MLAs through video link or the court can appoint an observer to allay the fear that the legislators are in captivity. However, the Speaker refused to accept the top court's proposal.
A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said it can create conditions to ensure exercise of volition of the rebel MLAs is truly voluntary.
"We can appoint an observer to Bengaluru or some other place so that the rebel MLAs can connect with the Speaker through video conferencing after which he can decide," the bench said.
It also asked the Speaker whether any inquiry was made on the resignation of the rebel MLAs and what decision has he taken on them.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, said the day court begins to give time-bound direction to the Speaker, it will be constitutionally problematic. The counsel appearing for Governor Lalji Tandon told the bench that Chief Minister Kamal Nath was "sitting aside" in the turn of events and it is the Speaker who is "leading the political battle" in court.
The bench asked all the parties how does the decision of a Speaker in matters of resignation and disqualification of MLAs affect the floor test.
It said the constitutional principle that emerges is that there is no restraint on trust vote because of resignation or disqualification being pending before the Speaker. It said, therefore, the court will have to flip around and see whether the Governor acted beyond the powers vested in him.