Karnataka rebels case: Congress divided over Supreme Court order

Abhishek Manu Singhvi (left) and Randeep Surjewala. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Congress on Wednesday was divided over the Supreme Court order on the Karnataka rebel MLAs, with senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi claiming victory but the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala describing it as a “terrible judicial precedent”.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Surjewala reminded the Supreme Court of its May 2016 order regarding defections in Uttarakhand, while Mr. Singhvi, who represented Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar before the top court, said there had been a “disinformation campaign by the BJP”, but the Congress had won as a political party.

Mr. Surjewala, soon after the interim order was given, took to Twitter to argue that nullifying the whip had provided “blanket protection” to the rebel MLAs.

“SC’s order nullifying the whip & by extension, operation of the Constitution’s Xth Schedule to punish MLAs betraying the public mandate, sets a terrible judicial precedent!” he tweeted. “Blanket protection to MLAs, who are driven not by ideology but by far baser concerns, is unheard-of,” he said.

“Tragic that SC didn’t appreciate the context and designed history of defections to subvert democratic mandates by Modi Govt over last 5 yrs. SC should recall own judgement of May 2016 striking down the illegal attempt of BJP in Uttarakhand to form govt,” the Congress communication chief said.

Mr. Surjewala, who is also a lawyer, argued that the top court’s order abandoned the principle of separation of powers.

Karnataka rebels case: Congress divided over Supreme Court order

“Does this mean: 1. Court can interfere with the working of the State Legislature by deciding when a Whip will be enforced? 2. Abandonment of the ‘Basic Structure’ doctrine of Separation of Powers?” he asked.

“As a political party we are extremely happy that we have emerged victorious…The court says we should not fetter the Speaker in any manner. He may decide any time he wants and any way that he wants,” Mr. Singhvi told presspersons and added that the court had not set any date for the Speaker’s decision on the resignations.

Explaining the portion of the order where the court said that the 15 rebel MLAs could not be forced to take part in the proceedings in the Assembly, Mr. Singhvi said this was a “protective order for the future” till such time the court decides finally.

Mr Singhvi, however, argued that the court order empowers the Speaker to act on the disqualification petitions that were moved by the Congress previously, some of which are pending since February.

“The stage of whip will come when voting takes place and voting at the moment is not scheduled until Friday-Saturday,” he said.

“Now, the Speaker is the master of the proceedings. He will decide, as I said, accept resignation and reject disqualification or accept disqualification and reject resignation. That’s his discretion..It is in the spirit of the Constitution,’he added.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 3:26:00 PM |

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