High Court sets aside election of Mulbagal MLA

 The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday set aside the election of G Manjunath, Independent MLA from Mulbagal (SC Reserved) constituency in Kolar district in the 2013 Assembly elections.

Justice A S Bopanna passed the order on a petition filed by Munianjanappa, who lost the election on the JD(S) ticket. Munianjanappa had moved the court challenging the legality of the acceptance of Manjunath’s nomination and his election from Mulbagal, a constituency reserved for the SCs, on the basis of an illegal caste certificate.

The petitioner has contended that Manjunath belongs to the ‘Byragi’ caste, which falls under the OBC. Despite this, Manjunath contested from Mulbagal constituency after obtaining a certificate that he belonging to Beda (Budaga) Jangama caste listed under the Scheduled Castes.

The petitioner had also stated he had brought the issue of the fake caste certificate obtained by Manjunath to the notice of the returning officer in 2013 elections but the same was disregarded by the authorities.

He has further stated that the Beda (Budaga) Jangama caste is said to be prevalent in Kalaburagi, Bidar and Raichur districts but not in Kolar district.

He stated that caste certificate obtained by Manjunath certifying him as belonging to Beda (Budaga) Jangama caste is manipulated, bogus and fake.

The court in its order observed that Manjunath has failed to establish that he belongs to the Beda (Budaga) Jangama caste. The court also stated that the caste certificate obtained by Manjunath certifying him as belonging to the SC is `without the sanction of law’.

The court stated in the order that the nomination of Manjunath and the consequent declaration as elected to the Karnataka Assembly have been declared illegal. The court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Manjunath.

In the elections held to the Assembly on May 5, 2013, Manjunath had secured 73,146 votes while Munianjanappa had polled 39,142 votes.

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