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SC defers hearing on plea by K'taka Independent MLAs

ANI | Updated: Jul 23, 2019 12:59 IST

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing till Wednesday on a petition moved by two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking a direction for concluding the floor test in the state Assembly.
The hearing was deferred by the bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi after Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar told the court that the trust vote is likely to be held today.
The plea was mentioned before the court by senior advocate and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
"I heard the Speaker saying that the trust vote will be completed by yesterday then by late evening but obviously it has not been done. Now, he says that it will be done by 6 pm today. I pointed out to the Supreme Court that the Congress party in respect of the same Assembly last year had sought a direction from the court to hold the floor test in one day," Rohatgi told reporters after the hearing.
"After hearing all this, the Supreme Court has passed its order that the court is optimistic and the Speaker will hold the floor test later in the day today and then kept the matter for tomorrow. I hope the speaker realises what his position is and what the constitution obliges him to do. And the fact that it is being delayed by day after day that does not augur well for democracy. I hope he will conduct the floor test today to know where the government stands so that there is no need of hearing tomorrow," he said.
Earlier, the court on Monday had refused to grant an urgent hearing on the petition.
The two MLAs -- H Nagesh and R Shankar -- who withdrew support to the Congress-JD (S) government in Karnataka, have made state Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and the Central government as respondents in their petition.
The legislators have sought the enforcement of their fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, which they alleged were being "violated with impunity".
They have submitted that a minority government, which does not have the confidence of the majority, is being allowed to continue in the office.
"The intention of the government is to delay the trust vote and indulge in horse-trading and defections from the BJP in the meanwhile," the plea contended.
"This court may be pleased to intervene to uphold the rule of law and constitutional democracy," it said.
The MLAs submitted that "irreparable harm and injury" will be caused to them if the interim relief prayed for is not granted by the court.
On July 19, the Karnataka Assembly failed to meet two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala to complete the trust vote, after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy challenged the directive. The trust vote is scheduled for today.
The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government slumped into a minority earlier this month following the resignations of 16 dissident MLAs from the Assembly.
The Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the House is 113. (ANI)

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