Don’t try to lay down

Court to rule on plea against Karnataka Speaker today
The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a swipe at the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine in Karnataka for questioning its power to give directions to the Speaker after welcoming its intervention last year. The court recalled how the parties had hailed the court for ordering the pro tem Speaker to conduct a floor test in 24 hours in May last year. The order swept the H.D. Kumaraswamy coalition government to power. Now, the very same parties are crying foul and questioning the jurisdiction of the court for having ordered Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, on July 11, 2019, to decide forthwith on the resignations of 10 dissident MLAs. “When our order is in your favour, you do not complain. You did not question our jurisdiction when we had ordered the pro tem Speaker to conduct a floor test in 24 hours… We had even held a midnight hearing. Now, you question our jurisdiction… Remember, there is no rule on the extent of powers of this court. Our exercise of jurisdiction is only dependent on our self-restraint. 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 addressed senior advocates A.M. Singhvi and Rajeev Dhavan, for the Speaker and Mr. Kumaraswamy, respectively. The observation came when the Speaker and Mr. Kumaraswamy questioned the court’s power to give directions to Mr. Kumar. After a day-long hearing, the court reserved for judgment multiple pleas filed by dissident MLAs against the Speaker’s “delay” in accepting their resignation from the Assembly. The court announced that it would pronounce its order at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday (July 17). Mr. Dhavan told the CJI 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 to 2018.

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