Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the Speaker is free to decide on the status of rebel MLAs whose resignations endangered the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

The top court said that the discretion of the Speaker should not be fettered by any direction from the court. It ruled that the Speaker can decide on the rebel MLAs as and when he feels appropriate, reports stated.

The court also said that the rebel legislators cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the state Assembly. This means that the coalition cannot compel MLAs to participate in the trust vote that is to take place tomorrow.

16 legislators of the Congress-JD(S) coalition resigned in the last two weeks; two independents resigned as ministers and withdrew their support to the ruling coalition.

The coalition’s total number of members have come down to 100 from 116 (excluding the Speaker and nominee). Whereas the BJP now has 105 members. Since the Speaker cannot vote unless it is a tie, the coalition’s strength will remain at 101 including the nominee.

If the 16 MLAs who resigned from the coalition do not appear for the trust vote, there are less chances for the coalition government to survive.

The BJP says that the coalition government has to resign because it has lost its moral authority to rule, reports said. BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka BJP chief said that it is a victory of the constitution. The order released by the Supreme Court is an interim order and the SC will ponder over the powers of the Speaker and set a new trend in parliamentary democracy, he reportedly said.