New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) In an opinion contrary to his predecessor over disqualification of rebel MLAs, the Karnataka Assembly Speaker told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that resignation is a democratic right and legal provision does not say that one is disqualified if he or she gives up membership of the House.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri told a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana that he is not taking sides on plea of 17 disqualified MLAs nor his predecessor but requested the court to lay down guidelines for the Speaker to deal with such a situation.
Citing a top court judgement, Mehta told the bench that legal provision does not say if you give up membership of House, you are disqualified.
“You can be disqualified by giving up membership of a political party. It is right of individual to step down and go back to people,” Karnataka Assembly Speaker said opining that members can be disqualified, if they leave a political party.
Mehta said that the issue here is related to relationship between electorate and elected representatives and therefore opined that right to resign has to be recognised.
However, Mehta said that he did not want to be critical of whatever happened in this case but it may happen very frequently and issue needs to be adjudicated by the court.
These opinions came while hearing the disqualified MLAs’ plea pleading that they should be allowed to contest bypolls scheduled on October 21.
The court has posted the matter for Thursday for further arguments and Congress and JD-S would respond to plea of disqualified MLAs.
Appearing for the rebel MLAs, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the court that former Speaker K.R. Ramesh was custodian of House and not of any political party.
He requested the court to suspend or defer by-elections. He also requested the court to stay the order that disqualify the MLAs as the legislators did not want to go to ask for votes with the tag that they have been disqualified.
Senior advocate C.A. Sundram, who was representing disqualified MLA Sudhakar said that dissenting voice is a basis of democracy and members cannot act like sheep to follow the rest.
Sundram told the court that it is not a sin to leave a party and resignation does not mean that he has defected and not left the party.