New Delhi, Sept: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear the plea of 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs who are seeking to contest by-polls for 15 Assembly seats in the State.
A three-judge bench, headed by justice N V Ramana, said it would hear on 25 September the plea in which the disqualified MLAs have sought interim relief to contest the by-elections.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the disqualified MLAs, told the bench that as per the disqualification orders of the then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, these persons cannot contest elections for the remaining term of the current Assembly which will end in 2023.
Meanwhile, the counsel representing the Election Commission, told the bench that by-polls for 15 vacant Assembly seats have been notified and the court should not stay the elections.
The EC’s counsel also said the Speaker’s order disqualifying these MLAs cannot deprive them of their right to contest by-polls.
Kumar had disqualified the MLAs which eventually led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by the then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.
Kumaraswamy resigned as the chief minister after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in the southern state under Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
The lawmakers have approached the apex court, challenging Kumar’s decision to disqualify them.
Some of them have contended in their pleas that the decision taken by Kumar before resigning as the speaker was an entirely illegal, arbitrary and mala fide exercise of his power under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
They have also questioned Kumar’s decision to reject their resignations by holding that those were not voluntary and genuine.