Disqualified Karnataka MLAs' Wait for Vacant Cabinet Berths Gets Longer as Judge Recuses from Hearing
The resignations of MLAs had led to the collapse of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka, headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, on July 22.
Supreme Court of India.
New Delhi: The 17 disqualified MLAs of the Karnataka assembly, who had filed petitions challenging their disqualification by the Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, will have to wait for their case to be heard as Justice MM Shantanagoudar recused from hearing the case on Tuesday.
The case, likely to be listed on September 23, will be referred to a different bench now. If the top court decides to uphold the disqualifications, bypolls will be held in the state.
The resignations of these MLAs had led to the collapse of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka, headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, on July 22.
In August, when Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa expanded his ministry, he kept the hopes of a cabinet berth alive for the disqualified MLAs by keeping 17 posts vacant, in what was seen as a reward for toppling the previous government.
The rebel MLAs disqualified and barred from being a part of the legislature by Karnataka Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.
Kumar had disqualified 13 MLAs from the Congress. Three from the JDS had resigned and two Independent MLAs had switched sides, leading to the fall of the Kumaraswamy-led government.
The rebel MLAs were disqualified under the anti-defection law, a move which they said was “arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of the Constitution.” “The intent of the Speaker to disqualify the petitioners in a prejudged manner," the MLAs said in the petition.
"The whole idea is to disqualify the petitioners and under threat of disqualification allow the minority government to function without the support of the majority in the house. It is submitted that the actions of the Speaker are arbitrary and unreasonable and violative of the Constitution" the plea said.
The MLAs said their resignations were voluntary and genuine, and they themselves have given innumerable television interviews and statements requesting the Speaker time and again to accept their resignation.
Meanwhile, after indicating that his party was still open to continuing its alliance with the Congress, JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda on Monday predicted mid-term polls in Karnataka.
Gowda had hinted that he was open for an alliance with the Congress in 17 assembly constituencies, where bypolls have been necessitated following the disqualification of rebel MLAs, but said it all depended on the decision of the national party's interim president Sonia Gandhi.
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