Karnataka: MLAs remain disqualified but can recontest

The BJP is likely to field the rebels on most of the seats in the upcoming Assembly elections on December 5.

disqualified MLAs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 13 November upheld the disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs of the former Congress-JD (S) MLAs government by the then Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, but said that they can recontest the 5 December bypolls.

The SC said the Speaker cannot disqualify an MLA till the end of the term of the assembly, which means the disqualified MLAs can contest the bypolls, nominations for which are being filed. The BJP is likely to field the rebels on most of the seats.

The apex court said that if elected, the MLAs can become ministers in the state cabinet or hold public office.
A three-judge bench of justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari had on 25 October reserved its verdict on the petitions filed by these disqualified MLAs.
The SC further said that its verdict is based on facts and circumstance of case and that it does not interfere in the speaker’s power to disqualify the members, adding that a speaker while examining a resignation could only inquire whether it is voluntary or not.
The top court said that the constitutional obligation and morality is applicable to both the government and opposition in a legislature.
Kumar had disqualified these 17 MLAs of ruling the Congress-JD(S) coalition ahead of a trust vote in July. Then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing the trust vote, paving the way for the BJP-led government in the state under BS Yediyurappa.
The MLAs were disqualified from the 16th Karnataka Legislative Assembly by the then Speaker, Ramesh Kumar on July 25 and July 28 this year under the anti-defection law and were barred from contesting elections during the tenure of current assembly until 2023.

The disgruntled MLAs then moved the apex court challenging their disqualification. They sought quashing of the order passed by the speaker and prohibition imposed on them to contest elections.

By-polls to 15 out of these 17 assembly seats which fell vacant following the disqualification of MLAs are scheduled on 5 December and candidates are required to file their nomination papers between 11 November and 18 November.

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