Lawyer Sandeep Patil speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo/ANI)(
Lawyer Sandeep Patil speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo/ANI)(

SC allows disqualified K'taka MLAs to contest by-polls, cannot hold any post till re-elected

ANI | Updated: Nov 13, 2019 12:03 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 13 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs to contest upcoming Assembly by-polls in Karnataka and said that they cannot hold any post till they are re-elected, said lawyer Sandeep Patil.
The Apex court passed the judgement on two cases -- disqualification of the MLAs and time limit that they shall not contest election till 2023.
"So far disqualification is concerned it has been upheld and the direction not to allow them to contest has been set aside. So in the forthcoming elections, they all are entitled to contest," Janata Dal (Secular) lawyer Patil told ANI here.
"In view of impending elections which has been notified, the top court felt that they should be allowed to contest. Article 361 (B) has been referred to the judgement," he said.
Speaking about the upcoming by-polls in Karnataka, he said: "MLAs can file nomination and contest but they cannot hold any post till they are re-elected."
Being asked about the speaker's morality in disqualifying the MLAs and causing delay in the process of accepting the resignation, the lawyer said: "The court said that the constitutional morality should be looked into in the disqualification proceeding and the political one shall not be considered. To that extent, the court is very clear that in this order reasoning seems to be bad."
The rebel legislators were disqualified by the then speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in July under the anti-defection law after they tendered their resignation.
They were also barred from contesting polls for the duration of the current assembly, which is slated to end in 2023.
The move had led to fall of the Congress-JD (S) coalition government, paving way for BJP to stake claim to form a new government in the state.
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. The matter was reserved by the court on October 25.
The elections for 15 out of 17 seats are slated to be held on December 5. They were earlier scheduled to be conducted on October 21 but were deferred by the Election Commission (EC) as the petitions of disqualified MLAs were pending in the top court.
The poll body had withheld the elections for two seats -- Maski and Rajarajeshwari -- as the petitions against these Assembly constituencies are pending in the Karnataka High Court.
After their disqualification, the strength of the 224-member Assembly had come down to 207. This had brought down the majority mark to 104. The BJP, which helms the government in the state, has 106 MLAs in the Assembly.
With the by-poll elections, the majority mark will climb to 222 and the BJP will have to win a minimum of six out of fifteen seats to keep its majority. (ANI)