Karnataka political crisis: SC refuses to urgently list plea of two Independent MLAs seeking immediate floor test

  • The Supreme Court on Monday refused to urgently list a plea of two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking holding of floor test forthwith

  • Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the two Independent legislators said he has filed a new petition in the Karnataka matter and seeks its urgent listing

  • The Independent legislators said that Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had sent messages to the house under Article 175(2) of the Constitution asking for completion of vote of confidence, but the same were not adhered to

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to urgently list a plea of two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking holding of floor test forthwith, but said it may consider listing of the petition Tuesday. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, "Impossible. We have never done this before. Tomorrow we may see to it."

 Karnataka political crisis: SC refuses to urgently list plea of two Independent MLAs seeking immediate floor test

File image of Supreme Court of India. PTI

The bench's remarks came when senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the two legislators — R Shankar and H Nagesh, said he has filed a new petition in the Karnataka matter and seeks its urgent listing.

Rohatgi said the floor test is being delayed on one pretext or the other. He said when the Congress-JD(S) coalition can take orders for holding of floor test earlier, then same order can be issued now. To this the bench said, "We will see tomorrow."

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The two MLAs, who withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, moved the top court seeking a direction for conducting a floor test forthwith in the state Assembly. They said that the state has plunged into a political crisis after they withdrew their support to the government and 16 lawmakers of the ruling coalition tendered their resignations.

"It is submitted that the trust vote is not being conducted despite the government being in minority. It is submitted that a minority government, which does not have the confidence of the majority, is being allowed to continue in office," they said in their plea. The plea has further said, "The petitioners have been constrained to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking a direction from this court to conduct a floor test forthwith in the Karnataka Assembly."

The Independent legislators said that Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had sent messages to the house under Article 175(2) of the Constitution asking for completion of vote of confidence, but the same were not adhered to and the trust vote debate continued unending.

The legislators have accused the government of taking advantage of the logjam and taking several executive decisions like transferring of police officers, IAS officers, other officials. "It is apprehended that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who is heading the minority government, may make himself scarce from the proceedings on 22 July, 2019. It has been reliably learnt that in a desperate attempt to avoid the trust vote, the chief minister of Karnataka may also rake up an emergent situation and use medical emergencies, including hospitalisation to avoid the trust vote," the plea has said.

The Independent MLAs' petition comes two days after Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao moved the top court accusing the Governor of interfering with the assembly's proceedings during the debate on trust vote. Kumaraswamy and Rao had filed separate applications after the deadlines set by the governor to conclude the proceedings of the confidence motion were not met. They had also sought a clarification of the 17 July order of the apex court by which the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs were granted relief that they cannot be compelled to participate in the ongoing assembly proceedings.

All the petitions are moved at a time when the Karnataka Assembly is debating the confidence motion moved by Kumaraswamy.

Updated Date: Jul 22, 2019 11:54:40 IST