The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a swipe at the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine in Karnataka for questioning its power to give directions to the Speaker after welcoming the court’s intervention last year.
“When our order is in your favour, you do not complain… Remember, there is no rule on the extent of powers of this court. To try to trap the parameters of the Supreme Court within inflexible limits is totally abhorrent to the Constitution,” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told senior advocates A.M. Singhvi and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. The observation came when they questioned the court’s power to give directions to Mr. Ramesh Kumar.
The court reserved for judgment pleas filed by rebel MLAs against the Speaker’s “delay” in accepting their resignation. It announced that it would pronounce its order at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Mr. Dhavan told the Chief Justice that this should not be viewed as a crossing of swords between the Supreme Court and the Karnataka Speaker.
“My Lord, this is not the Speaker versus the Court. This is Chief Minister versus somebody (Yeddyurappa) who wants to be Chief Minister by bringing down the present government. You should not have entertained this petition... your order (of July 11) asking the Speaker to decide on the resignations forthwith exceeded your jurisdiction,” Mr. Dhavan submitted.
Mr. Singhvi countered that the current turmoil cannot be compared with the events leading to the formation of the Kumaraswamy government in 2018.
“At the time of the midnight hearing in May 2018, there was no Speaker, no government and no Assembly in Karnataka. The Supreme Court had ordered pro tem Speaker K.G. Boppaiah to conduct a floor test because otherwise no government would have been formed in the State,” Mr. Singhvi submitted. Mr. Dhavan said the Supreme Court should not come in the way of a proposed vote of confidence motion scheduled in the Assembly for July 18.
Mr. Singhvi said the Speaker should be allowed to take his final decision on the resignations in his own time. The court could test him after he takes a call.
“We are not restraining the Speaker in any way. What stopped him from accepting or rejecting these resignations on July 6 when they were tendered to him by the MLAs,” the CJI asked.