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Karnataka: If rebels are disqualified, SC would have to give larger interpretation of its order

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Bengaluru, July 22: Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly, Ramesh Kumar said in the assembly that the whip would be applicable to the rebel MLAs as well.

When proceedings began in the assembly, he said that he had taken time as he was studying the order of the Supreme Court, which had said that the rebels cannot be compelled to come to the assembly.

Karnataka: If rebels are disqualified, SC would have to give larger interpretation of its order

Kumar has also summoned the rebels to appear before him at 11 am in connection with a plea by the coalition that has sought their disqualification. Both the Congress and JD(S) are clear that they want these MLAs disqualified.

Present yourself before me at 11 am tomorrow, Karnataka Speaker tells rebels

If disqualified, they would not be able to become ministers in the next government. They will also not be allowed to contest a by-election. Now that the Speaker has said that the whip would apply to the rebels also, it is quite clear that he is all set to disqualify them.

In normal course ahead of a trust vote, a whip is issued and if the MLAs do not abide it, then they face disqualification. In case of disqualification, the MLA in question cannot contest a by-election for the existing legislative assembly. He cannot become a minister in the current assembly and neither can be a part of the legislative council. The MLA can however contest an election held for the next assembly.

The disqualification of MLAs or MPs takes place under the Anti Defection Law, which was introduced to stop the 'Aaya Ram, Gaya Rama syndrome. This phrase had become popular after a Haryana MLA, Gaya Lal changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967. The anti defection law was brought in to prevent such situations.

Will a trust vote be held in Karnataka today? Highly unlikely

Now that the Speaker has made it clear that the whip would be applicable to the rebels, it is once again open to interpretation. If he goes ahead and disqualifies the MLAs, then the matter would be back in the Supreme Court, which will need to clarify its position.

The Supreme Court had said that the MLAs cannot be compelled to attend the proceedings in the assembly. A bare reading of this observation suggests that a whip will not be applicable to them. This would mean that if the Speaker disqualifies these MLAs for not following the whip, then they could well go back to the Supreme Court citing its order of July 17.

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