New Delhi, July 29: Two rebel Congress leaders, — Ramesh L Jharkhiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli — moved the Supreme Court on Monday, challenging their disqualification as MLAs from Karnataka Assembly.
They have sought quashing of the July 25 order of disqualification by K R Ramesh Kumar, who resigned on Monday as Speaker of the House.
Advocate Shubranshu Padhi, who filed the petition on behalf of the disqualified MLAs, said the second petition by R Shanker, an independent MLA who was also disqualified, is likely to be filed on Tuesday.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi is likely to mention on Tuesday the petition filed by Jharkhiholi and Kumathalli for early hearing.
They have also sought direction for quashing and setting aside the July 25 order of the Speaker rejecting the resignations tendered by them.
In the petition, Jharkhiholi and Kumathalli — elected as MLAs from Gokak constituency and Athani — narrated the sequence of events from February 11 to July 25 that led to their disqualification and sought a direction to call for records of the proceedings before the Speaker pertaining to the resignation and disqualification proceedings against them.
The petition was filed on the day when Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa proved his majority in the Assembly, winning the confidence motion by a voice vote.
The two rebel Congress leaders have alleged that the decision taken by Ramesh Kumar before his resignation as the Speaker was wholly illegal, arbitrary and mala fide exercise of his power under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
They also questioned his decision to reject their resignations by holding that it was not voluntary and genuine.
“The Petitioners had resigned from the assembly and yet their resignations have been rejected by the Speaker of the house in a mala fide manner and instead the Speaker has gone on to disqualify the Petitioners under the Xth Schedule,” the petition said.
Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah and Dinesh Gundu Rao, President, Karnataka Congress, who had sought disqualification of the rebel MLAs have been made respondents in the petition.
The two MLAs had not participated in the trust vote moved by H D Kumaraswamy as the apex court had said that the rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the House.
Kumaraswamy had resigned as the Chief Minister after losing the trust vote on July 23.
The two rebel Congress leaders alleged that the Speaker has acted in haste as he had received a letter from the party to take action accordingly.
“Their right to resign from the post of MLA and carry on any vocation of their choice including public service cannot be denied by the Respondent Speaker by a completely illegal and unconstitutional order,” they contended, adding that the action of the Speaker is thus in violation of the fundamental rights of the Petitioners guaranteed under Articles 19 & 21.
Jarkhiholi, Kumatalli and R Shankar were disqualified on July 25 and on Sunday the Speaker had passed the order of disqualification against — Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna, S T Somashekar, Roshan Baig, Anand Singh, MTB Nagaraj, BC Patil, Prathap Gouda Patil, Dr Sudhakar, Shivaram Hebbar, Shrimant Patil (all Congress) and K Gopalaiah, Narayana Gowda, A H Vishwanath (all JDS).
With the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs by the Speaker, the effective strength of the 225-member Assembly has been reduced to 208. (PTI)