The Kumaraswamy government is in major trouble as the Supreme Court ruled out that the Karnataka rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the trust vote, which is to take place tomorrow.
Kumaraswamy's move to seek a floor test on Thursday is seen as a last-ditch attempt to save the teetering coalition and if the MLAs are opted out of the trust vote than the Congress-JD (S) coalition would be reduced to a minority in the assembly and leave it poised on the brink of collapse.
Sixteen legislators of the JDS-Congress coalition and two independent lawmakers have resigned over the past two weeks.
If the resignations are accepted, the state government will lose its majority. 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 Supreme Court today directed the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly to decide on the resignations of the rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs within an "appropriate time frame".
However, the top Court refrained from laying down any particular time frame.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose also ordered that the 15 MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the House.
Larger issues involved in the case deserved to be answered at a later stage, the Court further held.
Meanwhile, Welcoming the top court's order in the matter, Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh said, "I will not delay, will work as per my constitutional role."
Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar: I will take a decision that in no way will go contrary to the Constitution, the Court and the Lokpal. pic.twitter.com/p0QcgBJkPB— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019
Rrepresenting Karnataka rebel MLAs in the Supreme Court, Mukul Rohatgi said, "In view of Trust Vote kept for tomorrow, the Supreme Court has said two important things- 15 MLAs will not be compelled to attend the House tomorrow. All 15 MLAs are given the liberty that may or may not go to the House tomorrow."
Mukul Rohatgi: The three-line whip issued against them (rebel MLAs) to attend the House tomorrow is not operative in view of the SC judgement. Secondly, the Speaker has been given time to decide on the resignations as and when he wants to decide. https://t.co/VPvyWDgxzM— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019
Watch | SC hears plea of 15 rebel MLAs of Karnataka