Even as the stage is set for the conduct of by-polls to the 15 vacant assembly seats In Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Monday (September 23) agreed to hear the plea of 17 disqualified MLAs who are seeking to contest them.
A three-judge bench headed by justice NV Ramana said that it would hear the plea on September 25. The disqualified MLAs have sought interim relief in the plea to contest the by-elections.
These 17 MLAs cannot contest elections for the remaining period of this Assembly which will end in 2023, as per the orders of the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.
The rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs had resigned from their posts, which led to the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka. Congress leaders then started pressing for the disqualifications of these MLAs with an intent to punish those who betrayed the party.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar disqualified them from the House ahead of the July 29 trust vote moved by then chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote, after which BS Yediyurappa took charge as chief minister of Karnataka and proved his majority.
Meanwhile, the counsel representing Election Commission (EC) told the bench that by-polls for 15 vacant Assembly seats have been notified and the court should not stay the elections.
The ECs counsel also said that the Speaker’s order disqualifying these MLAs cannot deprive them of their right to contest by-polls.
(With inputs from agencies)