The top court on Wednesday (November 13) upheld former Karnataka assembly speaker Ramesh Kumar’s decision to disqualify 17 rebel MLAs. A three judge bench, however, allowed the lawmakers to contest the upcoming by-polls, rejecting Kumar’s order to disqualify them till 2023.
The 17 rebel MLAs had switched sides to BJP after assembly elections in the state, and this lead to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. Ramesh Kumar had disqualified the MLAs because their resignations were not voluntary and genuine and this amounted to defection.
Following is the chronology of events in the 17 Karnataka MLAs disqualification-
Jul 6: Twelve MLAs from the Congress-JD(S) coalition submit resignation leading to 13-month-old Karnataka government into crisis.
Jul 10: Ten rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs move SC alleging Assembly Speaker has deliberately not been accepting their resignations.
Jul 11: SC asks then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to decide “forthwith” on resignation of 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs, allowed the lawmakers to meet him at 6 pm.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar moves SC against its order.
Jul 12: SC asks Assembly speaker to maintain status quo on the resignation and disqualification of 10 MLAs.
Jul 15: Five more rebel Congress MLAs move SC seeking impleadment along with the pending petition of 10 legislators.
Jul 16: Speaker tells SC he would decide on both disqualification and resignation of the rebel MLAs by Jul 17, requests court to modify its earlier order directing him to maintain status quo.
Then Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy tells SC it had no jurisdiction to pass the two interim orders.
Jul 17: SC says 15 rebel MLAs “ought not” to be compelled to participate in ongoing Assembly session, Speaker to decide on their resignation within time-frame considered appropriate by him.
Jul 19: Karnataka Congress moves SC contending its order was coming in way of party issuing whip to its legislators in the ongoing trust vote.
Jul 22: Congress-JD(S) government collapsed after confidence motion moved by CM H D Kumaraswamy was defeated in the assembly.
Jul 25: Speaker disqualifies three MLAs under the anti-defection law.
Jul 26: Karnataka BJP stalwart B S Yediyurappa sworn in as CM for fourth time.
Jul 28: Speaker disqualifies 14 more MLAs under the anti-defection act till the end of the current term of the assembly in 2023.
Jul 29: Yediyurappa proved majority in the Assembly.
Two rebel Congress leaders move SC against disqualification from Assembly.
Also read | Rebels who brought the Karnataka government down
Aug 1: 14 disqualified MLAs move SC challenging their disqualification
Sep 17: SC judge Justice M M Shantanagoudar recuses from hearing pleas filed by 17 disqualified MLAs challenging their disqualification.
Sep 23: SC agrees to hear plea of disqualified MLAs seeking to contest bypolls for 15 Assembly seats in the state.
Oct 25: SC reserves verdict on batch of petitions challenging disqualification of 17 MLAs.
Nov 4: Karnataka Congress urges SC to take on record a fresh audio clip in which Yediyurappa is purportedly hitting out at his party leaders for not recognising the “sacrifice” of the disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs, because of whom the BJP could come to power.
Nov 5: SC refuses to pass order on Karnataka Congress’ request
Nov 8: Disqualified Karnataka MLAs move SC, seek further postponement of Assembly bypolls scheduled for Dec 5.
Nov 13: SC upholds Speaker’s decision of MLAs disqualification but allows them to contest Dec 5 bypolls.