23 October 2019
New Delhi: Disqualified Karnataka MLAs on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the resignation was their indefeasible right.
The top court was hearing the plea of 17 Karnataka MLAs challenging their disqualification.
Appearing for disqualified MLAs, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari that the disqualification smacked of arbitrariness and violates the rule of seven-day period to be allowed for a reply.
He said a member of the House has an indefeasible right to resign and the only exception to it is that there should be no coercion, no gun to his temple.
He also said that even if the disqualification was valid, it would come to an end on fresh elections if the disqualified MLA wished to contest.
If the disqualified legislator does not wish to contest, the disqualification will go on till 2023, senior advocate said.
He also said that allegations of disqualified MLAs taking chartered flights to Mumbai are irrelevant as in any case, those flights were taken after the resignation.
The counsel said if a legislator has the guts to resign and go back to the electorate, then he should be allowed to do so.
After Rohatgi concluded his arguements, Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan commenced his arguments for another disqualified MLA and said they have given up House membership voluntarily.
He also said that if the Speaker feels that thier resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he has to tell them the reasons, but the then speaker did not do that.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing for Thursday.
The court was hearing the legislators' plea seeking the court's directions to quash the former Assembly Speaker's decision to disqualify them from the House.
On July 28, then state Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar disqualified the 14 rebel MLAs, rejecting the resignations tendered by them.
The MLAs had remained absent from the House on July 23 when former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy put the confidence motion to vote.
The legislators said the actions of the then Speaker was in gross violation of the orders passed by the apex court, completely illegal and unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the top court stayed proceedings before the Karnataka High Court on a petition challenging Election Commission's decision to defer bypolls on 15 Assembly seats.
However, the bench refused to issue any order on Congress leader's plea against suspending Model Code of Conduct.