NEW DELHI :
MLAs can’t be held captive, rules SC Came to B’luru voluntarily, say MLAs
WHILE the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the proposal for producing 16 rebel MLAs of the Madhya Pradesh Congress in judges’ chamber, and observed that they may or may not go to the Assembly but they cannot be held captive, the Rebel MLAs who are staying at a resort in Bengaluru said that they went there voluntarily. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and other leaders of the Congress have been claiming that the rebel MLAs were being held in captivity by BJP.
A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said that it is not going to come in the way of the legislature to decide who enjoys the trust but it has to ensure that there is a free exercise of choice which these 16 MLAs can make. The bench declined the offer of the rebel Congress MLAs saying it would not be appropriate and also refused to send its Registrar General to meet them. It then deferred the hearing for tomorrow at 10.30 am.
“As a constitutional court, we have to discharge our duties,” said the bench, adding, as of now it knows that the 16 rebel MLAs in Madhya Pradesh tilt the balance one way or the other. The court asked lawyers to assist it on modalities for ensuring free access to the Assembly and choice. The bench was hearing cross petitions filed by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Congress on the ongoing political crisis in the State after 22 rebel MLAs of the ruling combine purportedly offered to resign. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Chouhan, offered to produce all the 16 rebel MLAs in the judges’ chamber, which the court denied.
He also said that as an alternative, Registrar General of Karnataka High Court could go and meet the rebel MLAs on Thursday and video record everything. Rohatgi questioned maintainability of the Congress plea and said how can a political party ask for access to rebel MLAs in their petition. The problem is Congress wants the rebel MLAs to go to Bhopal so that they can be lured and it can do horse trading, said Rohatgi. The rebel MLAs told the bench that they were ready to face consequences as per the Constitution and expressed their unwillingness to meet Congress leaders.
“Speaker cannot sit on our resignations. Can he choose to accept some resignations and not others because political game is going on?”, asked the MLAs. Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the MLAs, said their right to resign was constitutional and asked what was the corresponding duty of the Speaker for accepting resignations. Singh said all these MLAs held a press conference declaring that the decisions they took was based on their own free will and the same has been sworn in their affidavits as well.
“We aren’t abducted and are producing this evidence in a CD to the court. We don’t want to meet the Congress leaders, there is no principle of law to compel us,” the MLAs told the bench. Earlier in the day, the Madhya Pradesh Congress Party sought trust vote in the State Assembly to be deferred till by-polls for the vacant seats are concluded, saying “heavens are not going to fall” if its Government led by Kamal Nath is allowed to remain in office till then. The contention was opposed by Rohatgi saying, after the resignations of 22 Congress MLAs, out of which six resignations have been accepted, the State Government should not be allowed to continue even for a day.
Don’t want to meet Digvijaya Singh: MP Cong rebel MLAs
REBEL Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh who are staying at a resort here, on Wednesday said that they have come to the city voluntarily and don’t want to meet anybody, even as senior party leader Digvijaya Singh is making efforts to reach out to them. High drama unfolded on Wednesday morning near the resort, as Singh, a two-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, staged a protest accusing the police of not allowing him to meet the legislators, following which he was detained briefly and released later. Singh, along with Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar, is meeting police top brass seeking opportunity to meet the MLAs.
He hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, accusing them of trying to block their efforts to get in touch with the legislators. “We have come here voluntarily on our own wish; we have got to know from some people that a few leaders from Madhya Pradesh including Digvijaya Singh and some MLAs have come here. We don’t want to talk to anybody,” Congress rebel MLA from Sumawali Adal Singh Kansana said in a video message.
“We have tried enough to speak with every one for the last one year, when they did not hear us for one year, what they will hear us in one day? We want to say only this that we have come here as per our wish and go back as per our wish,” he added. Another rebel MLA Govind Singh Rajput too said they have come voluntarily and don’t want to meet anybody. “We got to know that Digvijaya Singh has come with a few Ministers and leaders. Unnecessarily at the gate they are saying they want to meet us. When no MLA wants to meet him, they should not be doing this. All MLAs have sent in their resignation,” he said in a video message. Currently, 22 rebel MLAs are said to be camping in the city. Digvijaya Singh said he wants to meet MLAs, who are his “voters” for the Rajya Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh, and will stay here till he meets them. Ahead of meeting the city Police Commissioner, he said, “I have my doubts (about any help from the commissioner) because of pressure from Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister on them; they will not allow meeting (MLAs), because if MLAs meet me they will come out with me.” Claiming that Singh had come to the city, as he got a message from few rebel MLAs, Shivakumar asked: “Why is police blocking, they don’t have any right to block, they are blocking the right of a candidate.”
Governor replies to Speaker, says understands his dilemma
Staff Reporter :
GOVERNOR Lalji Tandon has given reply to the letter written to him by Madhya Pradesh Speaker N P Prajapati. Governor praised Speaker for quickly accepting resignations of 6 out of 22 MLAs. In the meantime, Governor also said to Speaker that he could understand his dilemma in redressal of resignations of MLAs. Governor also tried to give the reply over the demand made by Speaker regarding safe return of 16 Congress MLAs (who are in Bengaluru) should be ensured. Speaker had also told that he was concerned over the safety of missing MLAs.
Governor asked Speaker to send the procedure under which he was expected to give reply to some questions. In the meantime, Governor also said that “You and me are regularly getting letters of MLAs and they have nowhere expressed any problem about the place where they are presently staying.” Governor also referred that the letters and videos of MLAs are making rounds in social media and now they have even reached the Apex Court. Referring about the demand of Speaker to provide security to MLAs by saying that it is ‘Karyapalika’ which has responsibility of security of all citizens, Governor said that presumably Speaker might be seeking security from ‘Karyapalika’ and erroneously wrote letter to him.