Karnataka crisis: Karnataka tangle back in Supreme Court

New Delhi: Karnataka’s ongoing political drama will be played out on Monday both in the Assembly in Bengaluru and in the Supreme Court in Delhi. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has promised to conclude on Monday the debate on the trust vote that started on Thursday and conduct the voting but there is no certainty as all eyes will be on the SC’s decision on various pleas filed on Friday.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has filed two separate petitions, one challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala repeatedly setting deadlines for the Assembly vote, and the other challenging the apex court’s ruling on Wednesday that the rebel MLAs can’t be compelled to participate in the Assembly session, asserting it is contrary to the anti-defection law under the Tenth Schedule and also against the 1992 Constitution Bench ruling.

A similar application has been moved by the Congress through its state president D Gundu Rao, asserting a political party has the constitutional right under the Tenth Schedule to issue a whip to its MLAs.

Gundu Rao’s petition says: “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.” The Congress issued the whip to the party MLAs on Thursday to vote in favour of the trust vote even while the Court tried to restrain the party from doing so. How can the court pass such an order without arraying the Congress legislature party as a respondent, Cong asked.

Both the CM and the Congress have relied extensively on the 1992 Kihoto Holhan vs Zachillihu case in which the Constitution Bench had held that paragraph 2(1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule applied mandatorily to confidence motions.This paragraph provides for a lawmaker’s disqualification “if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs”.

Citing the SR Bommai judgment of 1994 by nine judges by five to four division, the two pleas say the Governor can order floor test by the ruling party, but he can’t interfere with the Speaker’s powers if he had already admitted a motion for such a test.

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