New Delhi, July 10, 2019: A group of 10 rebel Congress-Janata Dal Secular legislators who sent their resignation letters last week approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday, complaining that Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was slipping up on his constitutional mandate and delaying acceptance of their letters.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the petition before a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to request an early hearing. Chief Justice Gogoi has agreed to hear the petition tomorrow.
The petition comes a day after speaker KR Ramesh Kumar declined to accept the resignations of eight lawmakers, pointing out that they did not meet the parameters laid down in the rules. Kumar has also made it clear that he would need to meet the legislators to make sure that they are voluntary and genuine before signing off on them.
Wednesday morning saw high drama outside the Mumbai hotel where the rebel MLAs are holed up. Congress troubleshooter D K Shivakumar was stopped from entering the hotel with supporters of the rebel MLAs shouting “go back” slogans.
Shivakumar, who was accompanied by senior JD(S) MLAs, told reporters that he had booked a room in the hotel but was not being allowed to enter. “I am not afraid of slogans against me. Not being permitted inside because of security threat. I have a lot of respect for the Maharashtra government. I don’t have weapons,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
10 of the 12 MLAs wrote to Mumbai Police on Tuesday night, saying that they feared a threat to their lives, and asked that Shivakumar be prevented from entering the hotel.
All 13 MLAs – 10 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) —submitted their resignations last week, threatening the coalition government’s slim majority in the 224-member Karnataka assembly.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition government was stitched together after assembly polls in May 2016 to keep the BJP out of power. It has since been roiled by infighting. The coalition partners suffered a setback in the parliamentary elections when the BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.