SC Judge Recuses Himself from Hearing Pleas of Disqualified Karnataka MLAs
Justice Shantanagoudar said his conscience did not allow him to hear the case after senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, who were appearing in the matter for different parties, said they did not have any problem if he was part of the bench.
Supreme Court. (Image: Network18 Creatives)
New Delhi: Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar of the Supreme Court recused himself on Tuesday from hearing a batch of petitions filed by 17 disqualified MLAs of Karnataka, challenging the decision of the then state Assembly speaker barring them from the House.
As soon as the matter came up for hearing before a three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana, Justice Shantanagoudar said, "In this matter, I am not participating."
Without specifying the reason for his recusal, Justice Shantanagoudar said his conscience did not allow him to hear the case after senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, who were appearing in the matter for different parties, said they did not have any problem if he was part of the bench.
It is pertinent to mention that Justice Shantanagoudar was appointed as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court on May 12, 2003 and was made a permanent judge of the court on September 24, 2004.
"Not to be listed before the bench of which one of us (Mohan M Shantanagoudar, J) is a member. The registry is directed to list these writ petitions on Monday, September 23, 2019 before an appropriate bench, after obtaining orders from the Chief Justice of India," the bench said in its order.
The then Karnataka Assembly speaker, K R Ramesh Kumar, had disqualified the 17 MLAs, which eventually led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.
Kumaraswamy resigned as the chief minister after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in the southern state under Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
The lawmakers have approached the apex court, challenging Kumar's decision to disqualify them.
Some of them have contended in their pleas that the decision taken by Kumar before resigning as the speaker was an entirely illegal, arbitrary and mala fide exercise of his power under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
They have also questioned Kumar's decision to reject their resignations by holding that those were not voluntary and genuine.
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