The Karnataka speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s rejection of the resignations of eight of the 13 Congress and JD(S) legislators on July 9, came as a surprise to many who hadn’t anticipated that a minor glitch as a letter’s format could render a resignation invalid, especially when it has the power to topple a government.
But the speaker’s order has made it clear, that politics or not, the rules of the constitution have to be followed, literally in letter and spirit.
The format of the resignation letter, mentioned in Chapter XXII, titled ‘Resignation and Vacation of Seats in the House’ in the Rule of Procedure of Conduct of Business in Karnataka Legislative Assembly, states that a member who desires to resign from his seat has to intimate his decision to the speaker in his handwriting and need not specify the reason for his resignation.
The rulebook mandates that the letter be addressed to the speaker and the applicant fills in the undertaking specifying his name, place and date of resignation and signature.
The resignations can either be personally handed over to the speaker or through someone. But the rulebook says that the speaker will only accept it when he is sure that the resignation is voluntary and not coerced, after making enquiries. After accepting the resignation, the speaker should inform the house of the development and that he has given his consent to the letter.
The rulebook also allows a member to withdraw his resignation letter before it is accepted by the speaker.
The following is the format in which a legislator should submit his/her resignation: