Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao filed a plea to be impleaded as a respondent in the case filed by the rebel MLAs in the Supreme Court.

Karnataka crisis Cong moves Supreme Court to seek clarity on use of whip
news Politics Friday, July 19, 2019 - 16:05

Soon after the Karnataka Assembly missed the deadline of 1.30 pm on Friday for the trust vote to be held, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao moved the Supreme Court, seeking clarity on the issue of court’s exemption of party whip applying to the rebel MLAs. He also applied to implead as a respondent in the case filed by rebel MLAs. 

In his petition, he stated the SC’s interim order on Wednesday diluted the power of a political party to issue a whip and is contrary to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

The petition mentioned that as guaranteed under the 10th Schedule, a political party has a constitutional right to issue a whip to its legislators. “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 petition stated.  

The petition also quoted the Kihoto Holohan judgement in 1992 where it was held that decision with regards to defections by the Speaker is final and cannot be subjected to judicial review.

In its interim order on Wednesday, the Supreme Court allowed the 15 rebel MLAs of the ruling coalition in Karnataka to not participate in Thursday’s trust vote, even while giving the Speaker the freedom to decide on their resignations and disqualifications as and when he wanted. 

Gundu Rao earlier termed the SC’s interim order on Wednesday as a "bad judgement". 

“The Supreme Court verdict is now encroaching upon the rights of the legislature. This is a bad judgement which seems to protect the defectors and encourages horse-trading and also violating the doctrine of separation of powers,” he had said. 

This comes as part of the apparent tactics by the ruling coalition in Karnataka to delay the trust vote, despite a direction by Governor Vajubhai Vala to conduct the same by Friday afternoon. The Congress moving the apex court was on expected lines.

Speaking on the same issue in the Assembly on Thursday, Siddaramaiah, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said, “SC order has discussed my rights as CLP leader to issue whip but I was not a respondent to present my concerns. As the outcome of anti-defection law has its implications on the no-confidence motion, I would like to request to postpone the motion until we get clarification from SC.”

"Anti-defection law has not been struck down by the Parliament or by any court of law," said Siddaramaiah, referring to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar accepted Siddaramaiah’s contention. He also said that Siddaramaiah was at liberty to implead himself in the case.  

Meanwhile, the Governor has set a new deadline of end of the day to finish the trust vote proceedings. TV reports have suggested that the Governor had also sent an interim order to the Union Home Ministry on the say’s proceedings, as per procedure. 

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