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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Disqualified Karnataka MLAs approach SC for postponement of bypolls

  • The EC had deferred bypolls to 15 assembly seats in Karnataka to 5 December until the fate of 17 disqualified legislators was decided by the Supreme Court
  • Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing the MLAs, mentioned the case before the bench headed by Justice SA Bobde

The 17 disqualified members of Karnataka legislative assembly on Friday approached the Supreme Court seeking to postpone further the bypolls scheduled for 5 December. The apex court asked the disqualified lawmakers to file a fresh application in the matter.

Earlier, the EC had deferred bypolls to 15 assembly seats in Karnataka to 5 December until the fate of 17 disqualified legislators was decided by the Supreme Court.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing the MLAs, mentioned the case before the bench headed by Justice SA Bobde pleading for the bypolls to be delayed beyond 5 December as the verdict in the case remains pending. He said as bypolls are scheduled to take place on 5 December and candidates are required to file their nomination papers between 11 November and 18 November, the Election Commission (EC) should be directed to postpone the elections.

On 25 October, the apex court bench presided by Justice NV Ramana had reserved the verdict after hearing a batch of petitions filed by the 17 disqualified MLAs, who had challenged the order of their suspension by the Speaker.

The 17 MLAs were disqualified in July by then speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and barred from contesting polls for the duration of the assembly, which ends in 2023. It had led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state headed by the then chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Karnataka Congress unit, had contended that the speaker of the assembly had exercised his jurisdiction to disqualify the MLAs and his decision cannot be questioned.

Some of the disqualified MLAs had told the apex court that they have an "indefeasible right" to resign as members of the Assembly and the decision by the then Speaker to disqualify them smacks of "vengeance" and "mala fide" intention. Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP to form government in the state under B S Yediyurappa.

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