Speaker clarified that members have to seek permission for absence, says Krishna Byre Gowda

Minister Krishna Byre Gowda briefing after meeting Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on July 17, 2019.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Continuing to explore legal options before the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition seeks a trust vote on Wednesday, leaders of both the parties had a long discussion with the Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar over the consequences of Supreme Court order .

The party leaders sought clarification from the Speaker whether the members were still bound by the rules of Karnataka Legislative Assembly on the permission required to remain absent from the House, and also the right of the parties to issue whip-both clarification necessitated due to court order.

“Speaker has clarified that the members were bound to adhere to the rules of the Assembly and had to seek permission to remain absent,” Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda told press persons after an hour-long discussion with the Speaker.

Among a host of leaders from the coalition including Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and former Chief Minister and Chairman of the coalition’s coordination committee Siddaramaiah.

Stating that both the parties now feel that their right to issue whip has been indirectly infringed upon in the Wednesday's order, Mr. Gowda said that they had sought a clarification from the Governor in this regard too.

“However, the Speaker had said that he was not in a position to give clarification at the moment. He has left it to the parties to decide whether to move petition against those violating the whip under the Tenth Schedule and that he would decide on it later. He has suggested to both the parties to consult legal experts on this,” he said, adding that both the parties were inclined to issue whip at this stage. “A decision would be taken soon.”

In a related development, Mr. Gowda confirmed that Congress has moved a petition to disqualify Independent member R. Shankar on Tuesday. He said: “While Mr. Shankar gave a letter to the Congress of his intention to merge his Karnataka Parjnavantara Janata Party with Congress, he has also gone to Governor extending support to BJP.”

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