“Karnataka Speaker Free To Decide,” Says Top Court On Rebel Lawmakers

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NEW DELHI: The Karnataka Speaker is free to decide on the status of rebel lawmakers whose resignations endanger the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition, the Supreme Court has said. “The discretion of the Speaker should not be fettered by any direction from the court,” the top court said.
The court also said the rebel lawmakers should not be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the state assembly.

The rebels had argued in court yesterday that their resignations must be accepted by the Speaker, that they could not be “forced to attend the assembly”.

Sixteen legislators of the JDS-Congress coalition and two independent lawmakers have resigned over the past two weeks.

If the resignations are accepted, the coalition’s 118 members will come down to 100 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which would take its tally to 107.

The Speaker had told the court that many of the dissidents were facing disqualification.

If the lawmakers are disqualified, they must be re-elected and can’t become ministers. A resignation, on the other hand, allows lawmakers to become ministers easily if the BJP comes to power. They will have six months to seek re-election.

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