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The political crisis in Karnataka sparked a fresh confrontation between the Supreme Court and the Karnataka Assembly Speaker on Thursday. 
The political crisis in Karnataka sparked a fresh confrontation between the Supreme Court and the Karnataka Assembly Speaker on Thursday. 
Upset with Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for not meeting the 10 rebel Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) who resigned on July 6, the top court set a meeting of the two parties, under police protection, at 6 pm on Thursday.
 
The apex court also sought a decision on their pleas latest by Thursday midnight and demanded a copy of the decision on Friday, when the petition by the Karnataka MLAs will be heard next. Pointing out the Constitutional 'lakshman rekha', within minutes of the order being posted on the SC website, Kumar moved an application.
 
It said, "No direction is contemplated against the Speakerinter-alia to take a decision under Article 190 in a particular manner." He cited Constitution Article 190(3) proviso which allows a Speaker to conduct an enquiry in order to be "satisfied" that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine. The Constitution prescribes no time-frame for the Speaker to give his or her decision.
 
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the Speaker's application at 2 pm before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose. Earlier in the day, the same bench had heard out the plea of the Karnataka MLAs, put forth by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi. Singhvi sought vacation of the order as the enquiry cannot be completed in a day. The Court allowed the application to be taken up, saying, "It is for him (Speaker) to pass any order. We have said what we had to say."
 
Singhvi pointed out another flaw in the order, saying it "impedes the duties of the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution." The Tenth Schedule refers to the action of disqualification against elected MPs/MLAs, and Kumar pointed out that disqualification petitions against the MLAs have been pending since February 11, 2019.
 
Kumar will have to decide, the application says, whether 'any disqualification has been incurred by the concerned MLAs prior to submission of the resignation letter'. This will have a significant impact on the future of the resigning MLAs.
 
"The Speaker has to decide on the disqualification first," Singhvi told the Court, "Under Article 164(1)(B) and 361(B) of the Constitution, an MLA disqualified under the Tenth Schedule cannot be inducted as a Minister or appointed on a remunerative post unless and until s/he is re-elected. The issue of disqualification also needs to be decided in accordance with law which cannot be completed in a day."