Karnataka crisis: Speaker meets lawyers of rebel MLAs, Cong delegation

Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said that rebel MLAs enjoy protection from the Supreme Court against disqualification and they were free to participate or not in the proceedings in the Assembly during the trust vote.

Written by July 23, 2019 18:30

New Delhi: Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday met the lawyers of rebel MLAs, who are seeking four weeks’ time to appear before him.

A delegation from the Congress party also met the Speaker and said that immediate action needs to be taken and four weeks is too long a time.

Congress has argued that this is a situation where the Anti-Defection Law applies.

Congress chief of Karnataka unit Dinesh Gundu Rao said: “Our advocate has argued on our behalf before the Speaker on disqualification petition.”

“These members who have betrayed us will stand to get disqualified. It is a fit case for the Anti-Defection Law to apply,” said Rao.

Congress leader and advocate VS Ugrappa said that 16 MLAs gave up party’s membership and they have even placed evidence in front of the Speaker.

“There are 8 petitions in which 16 MLAs are involved. The Speaker issued a notice to all rebels stating that there will be a final hearing to the disqualification issue. On behalf of them, some of the advocates appeared and made arguments that disqualification petitions are not maintainable,” said Ugrappa.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court deferred hearing till Wednesday on a plea filed by two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking a direction for concluding the floor test in the state Assembly.

The hearing was deferred after the Speaker assured that the court that the trust vote will be held today.

Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said that rebel MLAs enjoy protection from the Supreme Court against disqualification and they were free to participate or not in the proceedings in the Assembly during the trust vote.

On July 19, the Karnataka Assembly failed to meet two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala to complete the trust vote, after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy challenged the directive. The trust vote is scheduled for today.

The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government slumped into a minority earlier this month following the resignations of 16 dissident MLAs from the Assembly.

The Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the House is 113. (ANI)