SC to deliver verdict on pleas of disqualified Karnataka MLAs today

South India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on the pleas of 17 disqualified Congress-JD (S) MLAs of Karnataka today.

The MLAs had challenged the orders of the then Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to disqualify them. He had disqualified these 17 MLAs ahead of a trust vote in July.
On October 25 A three-judge bench of justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari had reserved its verdict on the petitions filed by these disqualified MLAs.
In July this year, Former Karnataka assembly speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs under the anti-defection act and barred from contesting polls. It had led to the fall of the Congress-JD (S) coalition government in the state.
The then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing the trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in the state under BS Yediyurappa.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka headed by Kumaraswamy collapsed with 99 members voting for the motion and 105 against it in a House with an effective strength of 205 members.
By-polls to 15 out of these 17 assembly seats which fell vacant following the disqualification of MLAs are scheduled on December 5.
On November 8, Karnataka Congress-JD(S) disqualified MLAs had approached the Supreme Court, seeking deferment of state bypolls.
Some of these disqualified MLAs had argued in 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".
During the arguments in the matter, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Karnataka Congress, had contended that the then Speaker, who was the master of the Assembly, had exercised his jurisdiction to disqualify these MLAs and his decision cannot be questioned.
Sibal had also submitted that "the matter needs to be referred to a Constitution bench as it raises matters of grave constitutional importance".
The incumbent Karnataka Assembly Speaker had earlier told the top court that he has no difficulty in hearing these 17 MLAs and take a "fresh call" on the issue.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the office of the Karnataka Assembly Speaker, had submitted that under the scheme of Constitution, a lawmaker has a right to resign and the Speaker should accept it. The current Assembly Speaker is V Hegde Kageri.
The elections to the 15 assembly by-polls seats were earlier slated for October 21 but later postponed to December 5 by the Election Commission (EC) as the case pertaining to the disqualification of 17 MLAs was pending in the Supreme Court.
On September 28, the Election Commission had announced that the by-polls for 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka will be held on December 5.
The poll for 15 Assembly constituencies namely Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagara, Chikkaballapur, K.R. Pura, Yeshvanthapura, Mahalakshmi, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, Krishnarajpet and Hunsur, will be conducted from 7 am to 6 pm.
The candidates can submit their nominations from November 11 till November 18. November 19 has been finalised as the date for the scrutiny of nominations and November 21 as the last date for withdrawal of nominations.

With inputs from Agency
Image credit: News 18

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