Karnataka MLAs disqualification: Wait for hearing gets longer as Justice Shantanagoudar recuses himself

Shruti Mahajan September 17 2019

MLAs from Karnataka who were disqualified in the aftermath of the recent political crisis in the state will have to wait even longer for their plea to be heard by the Supreme Court, after Justice Mohan M Shanatanagoudar recused himself from hearing the matter today.

Justice Shanatanagoudar, who was on the Bench with Justices NV Ramana and Ajay Rastogi, recused himself from hearing the petition challenging the disqualification of 17 MLAs by the Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly.

Owing to the recusal, a new Bench will now have to be constituted before which this matter will be placed for hearing.

While adjourning the matter, Justice Ramana intimated that the matter will now be taken up on next Monday, September 23.

On July 10 this year, ten rebel MLAs of the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka had approached the Supreme Court challenging the delay by the Speaker of State Assembly in accepting their resignations.

When the matter came up for hearing on July 11, the Court directed the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly KR Ramesh Kumar to decide on the resignations tendered by the rebel MLAs. Hours later, however, the Speaker moved the Supreme Court seeking a recall of this order.

When the matter came up for hearing again on July 12, the Court ordered that status quo be maintained by the Speaker with respect to the resignations by rebel MLAs and the disqualification proceedings against them.

On July 17, the Court 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" while adding that rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the House.

On whether issues of Constitutional law pertaining to the case needed to be deliberated upon, the Court stated that the questions could be answered at a later stage of the proceeding. For the time being, it held,

"The imperative necessity, at this stage, is to maintain the constitutional balance and the conflicting and competing rights that have been canvassed before us."

Two days later, President of the Janata Dal (Secular) HK Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao moved the Supreme Court contending that the Court's order of July 17 affects the Constitutional right of the Congress and the JD(S) to issue a whip.