The fate of the 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs will be decided on November 13 when the Supreme Court delivers its judgment in the case.
It was on Friday that the disqualified MLAs had moved the Supreme Court seeking bye-elections in Karnataka to be deferred until the court announced its decision regarding their disqualification. The bye-elections to 15 constituencies are scheduled for December 5, which the disqualified MLAs sought to be deferred.
In July, the then Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified 17 MLAs, belonging to the Congress and JD(S), rejecting the resignations submitted by them. The Speaker also barred them from contesting in bye-elections until the end of the present Assembly term. Defying their respective party whips, those MLAs were absent from the House on July 23 when former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy put the confidence motion to vote. The rebellion also allowed the BJP to come to power in Karnataka.
The disqualified MLAs moved the Supreme Court challenging the Speaker’s decision. They said it was in violation of the apex court orders and that it was illegal and unconstitutional. The rebel MLAs said that the Speaker was overreaching the mandate of the Constitution in rejecting the resignations and disqualifying them.
Several senior advocates appeared in the case. While senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Devadatta Kamat and K Shashi Kiran Shetty represented the Congress and JD(S) parties, senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, C A Sundaram, V V Giri, A K Ganguli, K V Vishwanathan appeared for the MLAs.
The bye-elections to 15 constituencies were initially scheduled for October 21 but it was later deferred until the three-judge bench decides on the petitions by the 17 disqualified legislators. Bye-elections to RR Nagar and Maski are yet to be announced. The bye-elections were then rescheduled for December 5 but the disqualified MLAs once again moved the SC to further defer the polls until the case is resolved.