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Disqualified Karnataka MLAs can contest bypolls: Supreme Court


SC allows 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs to contest December 5 bypolls
SC allows 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs to contest December 5 bypolls
Disqualified Congress and JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka can contest the impending bypolls on December 5, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, in a breather to the BS Yediyurappa government in the state.

A bench led by Justice NV Ramana upheld the Speaker's disqualification, but clarified that it will be till their re-election and not till the end of the term of the House as he had ruled. If elected in bypolls, these disqualified Karnataka MLAs can become ministers or hold public office

"We do not appreciate the manner in which the petitioners came to the court," the judge remarked, adding that the court though heard their case on merit.

The bench said that resignation will not override earlier disqualification proceedings initiated against a member, but held the Speaker had no power to disqualify till end of the term of the House.

The court struck down portion of Speaker's order which said MLAs would be disqualified till end of tenure of 15th Karnataka Assembly, but said its verdict is based on facts and circumstance of case and does not interfere in Speaker's power to disqualify members.

The bench, including Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, lamented the lack of constitutional morality in political parties saying the same party behaves differently in power and in Opposition.

"This gives an impression that political parties in India are amoral", the court said.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified these 17 MLAs of ruling the Congress-JD(S) coalition ahead of a trust vote in July this year.

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 B S Yediyurappa.

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

The disqualified MLAs then approached the apex court seeking a direction to the Election Commission to postpone the assembly by-polls for these 15 seats till the pronouncement of verdict in the matter.

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