Karnataka Political Drama: Trust Vote Tomorrow

Karnataka Political Drama: Trust Vote Tomorrow

July 17, 2019

SC issues interim order; Says Speaker can’t be forced to take decision within time-frame

New Delhi / Bengaluru: The Supreme Court (SC) this morning issued an interim order with respect to resignations of 15 rebel MLAs (who had petitioned the Apex Court) stating that the Karnataka Assembly Speaker cannot be forced to take a decision within a time-frame.

However, in what can be said as a big relief to the rebel MLAs, the Apex Court also said that it cannot force them (rebel MLAs) to participate in the Trust Vote which is scheduled for tomorrow in Bengaluru. A three-Judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, said, “Speaker cannot be forced to take a decision within a time-frame with respect to the resignation issue of rebel MLAs.”

The Supreme Court, yesterday, had heard the detailed arguments from senior lawyers Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for 15 rebel MLAs, Abhishek Manu Singhvi for Speaker and Rajeev Dhawan for Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy before reserving the verdict for today. 

The Top Court also said that larger question raised in the case on the role of Speaker could be answered at a later stage but interim order is required to maintain Constitutional balance.

The rebel MLAs had told the Supreme Court that the Congress-JD(S) coalition Government had lost majority and Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, by keeping their resignations hanging, was attempting to prolong a State Government which had been reduced to a minority.

Ramesh Kumar welcomes SC order

Meanwhile, Speaker Ramesh Kumar welcomed the verdict of the Supreme Court and said that he will “go by the judgement of the Apex Court.”

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Speaking to media persons in Bengaluru this morning, he said that the Floor Test will be conducted on Thursday (tomorrow) as scheduled and he will not compel any Legislator to attend the Session. 

Refusing to make any comment on the Supreme Court verdict, he said that “the Supreme Court in its order had sent sensitive and implied directions and I will go by it.”

While the Karnataka Congress party tweeted ‘Operation Kamala Viphalavaagalide, Satyameva Jayathe’ (Operation Kamala will fail, Satyameva Jayathe) soon after the verdict was announced, former Chief Minister and BJP State President B.S. Yeddyurappa welcomed the decision stating it was a “moral victory” for the rebel MLAs, who have submitted their resignations. 

Trust Vote scenario

Total strength of Karnataka Assembly: 224

Coalition Government’s strength: 117

Congress – 79 (including the Speaker) + JD(S)- 37 + BSP – 1

BJP: 105 + 2 Independent MLAs 

If the Speaker accepts resignations of the rebel 16 MLAs (13 from Congress and 3 from JD(S), the ruling coalition will be reduced to 101 thus losing majority. In case, the resignations are rejected and rebel MLAs abstain from the Trust Vote even then State Government is certain to fall short of the required number.


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