Bengaluru: In a decision which could have far reaching consequences on the future of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in the state and could even lead to a confrontation with the Supreme Court, Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar ruled out taking any decision in haste on the resignations of the rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, asserting that he would require time to study if they had resigned voluntarily without any coercion.
Mr Ramesh Kumar made this announcement at a prèss conference soon after meeting ten rebel Congress and Janata Dal (secular) rebel legislators who flew in from Mumbai Thursday evening to submit fresh resignations after the Speaker ruled that their earlier resignations were not in order. "I will hold a personal hearing with every legislator on a day to be announced soon before taking a call on their resignations," he said.
Earlier in the day, the apex court asked the Speaker to decide "forthwith" on Thursday about the resignation of 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) coalition MLAs, allowing them to meet him at 6 pm. A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.
The rebel MLAs brought with them empty letter heads on which they wrote their resignations in their own handwriting and handed them over to the Speaker after recording their signatures in his presence. This became necessary as the Speaker had earlier observed that of the total 13 resignation letters submitted by Congress and JD(S) MLAs, only five were found to be in the prescribed format.
Around 11 am, the Supreme Court directed them to appear before the Karnataka Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar before 6 pm. They then left for Mumbai Airport where two special flights were ready to fly them to Bengaluru.
Due to poor weather, the flights could take off from Mumbai only around 3.30 pm and they reached Bengaluru around 5.30 pm where they boarded a private bus which took them to Vidhana Soudha.
The zero traffic facility provided by the cops ensured that the rebel MLAs zipped through the busy roads of Bengaluru to reach the Soudha at 5:59 pm. After spending about 30 minutes with the Speaker and after submitting their resignations afresh, the legislators returned to Mumbai by the same aircraft.
Mr Ramesh Kumar told reporters, “I would like to set the record right that no one can influence me. Some are accusing me of deliberately delaying the process(of acting on the resignations) to favour somebody which is not true. Do they expect me to work at lightning speed without going through the rules and provisions of the Constitution? I am here to respect people, uphold the Constitution and not dance according to somebody's tunes".
The Speaker also felt there was no need for the legislators to move the apex court seeking a direction to accept their resignations submitted on July 6 in his absence. Nor was there any written or oral request from them that they were arriving to present their resignation letters to him.
The Speaker made it clear that it was his duty to check whether the letters were genuine and had been submitted without any pressure. This was man-datory as per Article 190 of the Constitution and for this, a personal hearing was necessary....