Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Congress moved the Supreme Court on Friday accusing Governor Vajubhai Vala of interfering with the Assembly proceedings during the debate on trust vote, and sought clarification on its July 17 order causing hindrance in issuing whip to the legislators.
Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao filed separate applications on Friday afternoon after the 1.30 PM deadline set by the Governor to conclude the proceedings of the confidence motion was not met.
Both the applications sought clarification of the July 17 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.
The order "whittles down" a political party's power to issue whip to its MLAs as it has a constitutional right to do so and the court can't restrict that, they said.
While Kumaraswamy questioned the deadlines set by the Governor one after another for completing the trust vote, Rao submitted that the apex court order was passed without involving the Congress legislature party, which presently has 79 MLAs in the Assembly.
The apex court on July 17 passed the order on the plea of the 15 rebel MLAs in which the Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy were made respondents.
Both the applications were filed at a time when the Assembly was debating the confidence motion moved by Kumaraswamy.
The Chief Minister was categorical to state in his application that "the Governor cannot dictate to the House the manner in which the debate of the confidence motion has to be taken up".
"The directions of the Governor are completely contrary to the well settled law laid down by this Court in relation to the Governors powers. The directions of the Governor are ex-facie in contravention of the judgment of this Court," his plea said.
The application of Congress sought clarification on the order which said the 15 rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the ongoing Assembly proceedings, saying that the direction compromises with the party's right to issue whip.
"It is respectfully submitted that as a result of the order dated July 17, the constitutional rights of the applicant under the Tenth Schedule are vitally affected and as such the instant Application is being moved," the Congress plea said.
It submitted that under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, a political party has a right to issue a whip to its legislators, the ground also taken by Kumaraswamy.
"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. More importantly, any enquiry for the purposes of the Tenth Schedule is a proceeding of the Legislature of the State within the meaning of Article 212 of the Constitution," both the applications said.
The apex court order had said that the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka "ought not" to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the state Assembly and an option should be given to them as to whether they wanted to take part or stay out of it.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said that the Speaker will decide on the resignation of the 15 MLAs within such time-frame as considered appropriate by him.
The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, had said the speaker's discretion in deciding on the MLAs' resignations should not be fettered by the court's directions or observations and he should be left free to decide the issue.
The apex court also said the Speaker's decision be placed before it.
"We also make it clear that until further orders, the 15 members of the Assembly ought not to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the House and an option should be given to them that they can take part in the proceedings or opt to remain out of the same. We order accordingly," the bench had said in its three-page order.