View: Privilege democratic legitimacy in Karnataka
The Supreme Court order is troublesome and would violate the principles underlying the anti-defection law.
The nub of the resignation drama is an MLA’s eligibility to be sworn in as a minister in the same House. If an MLA ceases to be a member of the House on account of resignation, rather than because he was disqualified, he is still eligible to sworn in as a minister in another government constituted from the same House, without waiting to be re-elected to the legislature. He can be sworn in as minister and seek to be re-elected. If he is disqualified, he can become a minister only after getting re-elected.
The Congress and Janata Dal (S) party whips in the legislature are entitled to ask the MLAs of their respective parties to be present at the Trust vote being moved by chief minister Kumaraswamy and vote in favour of the motion. Under normal conditions. If they violate the whip, they would be disqualified. Now, the Supreme Court might have interfered with that process, saying that MLAs cannot be compelled to attend the House, effectively saying that the party cannot issue a whip to attend the House. This seems arbitrary. It is possible that the Court only meant that the Speaker cannot compel the MLAs to attend the House, not suspension of normal parliamentary procedure, violation of which is the basis for disqualification of a member under the anti-defection law.
The sensible course of action for the ruling coalition is to issue whips to its members to attend the House on Thursday and direct them to support the Trust motion. If they violate the whip, they should be disqualified. If the MLAs who have moved far away from the people’s mandate that put them into the House, and into the orbit of the party against which they contested, transiting through assorted luxury resorts, feel this violates the Supreme Court order, they should challenge it in the Court. If the Court feels that the Speaker and the House leaders have violated its order, it can initiate contempt actions against them.
This course of action would privilege the sanctity of the people's verdict the most.
The BJP, on its part, should call for fresh elections, once the trust vote is defeated, instead of trying to cobble together a majority from the present House that n longer reflects the current political mood of the electorate.