Disqualified Karnataka MLAs move SC for postponement of Dec 5 bypolls

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The disqualified Karnataka MLAs moved the Supreme Court on Friday (November 8), seeking further postponement of the Assembly bypolls which are scheduled to take place on December 5.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana on October 25 had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the 17 MLAs, challenging their disqualification as lawmakers ahead of the trust vote by the then HD Kumaraswamy government.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the disqualified MLAs, mentioned the matter and said the bypolls for the Assembly seats are scheduled on December 5 and candidates are required to file their nomination papers between November 11 and November 18. He said the disqualified MLAs will not be able to file their nomination and moreover the apex court verdict has not been delivered on the particular issue.

Rohatgi sought postponement of the bypolls till the apex court delivers its verdict on the petitions challenging the disqualifications. The apex court asked the counsel for the MLAs to file a fresh application in this regard.

Earlier, the Election Commission had postponed the bypolls, which were scheduled on October 21, to December 5 in view of the pendency of the petitions filed by the disqualified lawmakers. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Karnataka Congress, had earlier told the top court that the legal challenge to the disqualification of the MLAs needs to be referred to the Constitution Bench. He had contended that the then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who was the Master of the House, 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”. Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in the state under BS Yediyurappa.