Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar Friday told the Supreme Court the allegation by 10 rebel MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) coalition that he had made himself “scarce” and was unavailable on the day of their resignation is “fallacious”.
In an affidavit, he said that none of these MLAs submitted the resignation in person or by hand to him. “It is therefore patently false to suggest that the speaker had made himself scarce or was unavailable”.
The MLAs moved the apex court alleging that the speaker was not accepting their resignations.
Their counsel had told the top court on Thursday that on July 6, when some of the MLAs went to submit their resignations, the speaker left his office through the back door.
Kumar said that such allegations not only undermine the authority of the office of the Speaker but are absolutely “fallacious” to say the least and have been made only with an “intent to mislead the apex court”.
He pointed out that the disqualification petitions of Ramesh Jarkhiholli and Mahesh Kumathalli, two rebel MLAs, were filed on February 11 and pending consideration.
Kumar further said that another rebel MLA, Anand Singh, had resigned on July 1 following which the governor had written to the Speaker to take action as per the rules. On July 6, the office of the Speaker received the resignation letters of 12 MLAs, he added.
“None of the MLA”s ever submitted their resignations in person or by hand to me. It is therefore patently false to suggest that the speaker had made himself scarce or was unavailable.
“I was available throughout the week, including on Saturday, July 6, till 12.30 PM. None of the petitioners have sought any appointment. As I was pre-occupied with my personal work, I left the office at 12.30 PM. Only subsequently I came to know from my office that the petitioners had come to my office at around 2.30 PM to give the resignations,” he said.
Kumar further said that following this, the Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala had asked him to do the needful as per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
He said he had informed the Governor that none of the members have ever contacted him or his office to seek an appointment to submit the resignation letters.
“Further the letters were not in accordance with the prescribed format. It was also informed that three of the MLAs have been given an appointment on July 12 and the remaining have been given appointment on July 15,” Kumar said.
He further said that he had also sent letters to the 14 MLAs informing that only the resignation letters of five MLAs were in proper format and requested the remaining to submit these again if they wished to resign as per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
He said six of the rebel MLAs — A H Vishwanath, Ramesh Jarkhiholli, S T Somashekhara, Mahesh Kumatahalli, B C Patil and A Shivram Hebbar — re-submitted their resignations on July 10.
Kumar said the rebel MLAs moved the apex court on the same day that they had re-submitted their resignation in the proper format. The Congress also filed petitions on July 10 seeking disqualification of eight rebel MLAs, which were pending, he added.
“I further state that on July 11, 10 number of MLAs came and met me in my chambers and handed over fresh letters of resignation. The entire proceedings were videographed. The MLAs during the course of hearing admitted that they had never tendered their resignation to the speaker personally.
“The MLAs also confirmed that they had neither sought time nor an appointment with the Speaker. They also stated that it is wrong to state that when the MLAs had come to offer resignation the Speaker had escaped from the back door. I am bringing this on record only to show that the petitioners have misled the court,” he said.
Kumar submitted that he was in the process of considering the resignations and they will be considered along with proceedings under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
He had on Thursday moved the apex court against its order asking him to take a decision on the resignation of 10 rebel MLAs during the course of the day.
He submitted that the order passed was based upon submissions made by the rebel MLAs without reference to several directly relevant articles of the Constitution, which oblige the Speaker to perform his constitutional duties under the Article 190 (1) (B) as well as the 10th schedule of the Constitution.
The Speaker submitted that the proviso to Article 190 (1) (B) specifically contemplates an enquiry for ascertaining whether the resignation is voluntary and genuine.
He submitted that the 10th schedule casts a mandatory duty on him to decide applications for disqualifications under para 2 of the 10th schedule.
He stated that the question which therefore requires to be decided by the speaker is whether any disqualification has been incurred by the MLAs concerned prior to the submission of the resignation letter.
The speaker submitted that the rebel MLAs who have approached the apex court have cast aspersions questioning his integrity which are completely false and frivolous.
He asked the court to consider his plea for recalling the direction passed on Thursday morning, directing him to “take a decision forthwith and in any case in the course of the remaining part of the day”.