Can’t be pushed into a decision: Speaker

Ramesh Kumar meets 10 Karnataka rebel MLAs following the Supreme Court’s direction
Hours after the Supreme Court on Thursday asked Karnataka Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to meet 10 rebel legislators from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) and take a decision on their resignations, he held a meeting with them.
However, Mr. Ramesh Kumar insisted that he had a responsibility to understand whether the resignations were genuine and voluntary, as prescribed in the Constitution, and said the process could not be rushed. “In the current political situation, I have to enquire whether they are voluntary. If I do not do it, I would have committed a mistake,” he told journalists after the nearly hour-long meeting with the rebel legislators, who flew to Bengaluru from Mumbai and rushed to his chamber just after 6 p.m, following the court order.
Article 190
Mr. Ramesh Kumar cited Article 190 of the Constitution as the basis for his decision to follow the procedure to enquire whether the resignations were genuine and voluntary. “I am not responsible for it, nor am I connected with the political instability in Karnataka… I am not under anybody’s obligation. I am obligated to the people of the State and the Constitution,” he said, adding that he could not specify a time frame for a final decision on the resignations. Mr. Ramesh Kumar confirmed that all the 10 fresh resignation letters tendered by the rebel legislators were in accordance with Rule 202 of the Rules and Procedure of Conduct of Business in the Assembly. He, however, said he had not given dates for hearing to these legislators. “During the session, I will ask the Deputy Speaker to sit in the chair during afternoon sessions to hear the rebel legislators,” he said. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court became the site of the latest face-off between the Speaker and the rebel legislators. Hours after a Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, asked Mr. Ramesh Kumar to meet the 10 rebel MLAs and take a decision on their resignations “forthwith or in the course of the remaining part of the day”, the Speaker urged the court to recall its order. In an urgent application filed in the afternoon, the Speaker said the court could not ask him to decide on the resignation of the legislators in a particular manner. Mr. Ramesh Kumar said the order hindered his probe against the MLAs under the anti-defection law. However, the Chief Justice of India said the Speaker’s application would be heard on July 12. The court had fixed the July 12 hearing to be apprised of the Speaker’s decision on the resignations.

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