The Supreme Court on Friday said there will be no decision on the resignation of rebel Karnataka lawmakers till July 16.
“The matter will be heard on Tuesday and status quo will remain on the legislators,” the Supreme Court said after hearing involving Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
Citing "weighty issues that have arisen", the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the matter will be considered by it on July 16 and status quo as of Friday should be maintained.
The bench specifically mentioned in the order that Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar would neither decide the issue of resignation nor that of the disqualification of the rebel MLAs to enable the court to decide the larger issues raised during the hearing of the matter.
The bench noted in its order that the issue of maintainability of the rebel MLAs' petition under Article 32 of the Constitution was raised by the speaker and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
It said senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the rebel MLAs, countered the speaker's submission that the disqualification plea of the ruling coalition in the southern state had to be decided before taking up the issue of resignation of the lawmakers.
Rohatgi alleged that the speaker has not decided on the resignations of the lawmakers and the idea behind keeping the issue alive and pending was to bind them with the party whip.
He said the speaker questioned the MLAs' move to approach the apex court and asked them to "go to hell" in front of the media.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, told the bench that the speaker was constitutionally obligated to decide on a plea for disqualification of the rebel MLAs.
"The speaker is a very senior member of the Assembly. He knows constitutional law. He cannot be maligned, lampooned like this," he told the bench.
"Speaker can be given one or two days to decide on the issue of resignations. If he still does not decide, contempt notice can be issued against him," Rohatgi said.
Singhvi also said that disqualification proceedings had been filed against eight of the rebel MLAs. "The speaker is duty-bound and empowered to decide on disqualification of MLAs first," Singhvi told the bench.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the chief minister, said the apex court had passed an "ex-parte" order without issuing notice to the speaker.
Several corruption allegations against the state government have been levelled in the plea of the rebel MLAs while securing a judicial order, Dhavan said. One of the rebel MLAs was involved in a Ponzy scam for which the government is being accused, he added.
"Speaker has the responsibility to satisfy himself that resignations were voluntary... The Supreme Court order was passed without hearing the other side, what can the speaker do in such a situation," said Dhavan.
The bench said taking all these aspects and the incomplete facts before it into consideration, there was a need for further hearing.
At the outset, the bench had asked him whether the speaker had the power to challenge its order, while hearing a plea moved by Kumar against the top court order asking him to take a decision on the resignations of 10 rebel MLAs on Thursday.
The Supreme Court then posted the case for further hearing on July 16.
A three-bench judge of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was hearing on the Speaker's plea for modifying its July 11 order to seek more time in deciding the resignations of the seven Congress and three JD-S legislators re-submitted on Thursday evening as per its directive.
The 10 rebel legislators who petitioned the apex court on July 10 against the Speaker for reportedly delaying to accept their resignations are Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavraju, B.C. Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S.T. Somashekar, Prathapgouda Patil and Mahesh Kumatahali of the Congress and K. Gopalaiah, A.H. Vishwanath, K.C. Narayan Gowda of the JD-S.