New Delhi: Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing rebel Karnataka MLAs, on Tuesday said they enjoy protection from the Supreme Court against disqualification and they were free to participate or not in the proceedings in the Assembly during the trust vote.
"15 MLAs who have got protection from the Supreme Court last week. They have protection in as much as they have the option of appearing in the proceedings or not because they have been issued a whip. A whip is the basis of disqualification so that the Supreme Court's order granting them protection is a protection against the whip. The whip's enforcement by disqualification is accordingly also protected," senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohatgi told reporters after the court proceedings today.
"I have advised 15 MLAs not to attend the proceedings because they enjoy protection from the Supreme Court," he said.
When asked about Congress petition for disqualifying rebel MLAs, Rohatgi said, "Yes. They were filed on July 10. But the protection was granted by the Supreme Court and it was filed after the court's order. So, they are fully covered by any process of disqualification either based on resignation or not based on resignation or based on the whip for appearing. They are completely protected and are not obliged to appear in these proceedings (in the Assembly)."
The lawyer said that if the floor test, as assured by the Speaker does not happen today, they will seek "operative direction" from the apex court in this regard.
The apex court today deferred hearing till Wednesday on a petition moved by two Independent Karnataka MLAs seeking a direction for concluding the floor test in the state Assembly.
The hearing was deferred by the bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi after Karnataka Assembly Speaker told the court that the trust vote is likely to be held today....