K'taka bypolls: SC pulls up Cong leaders for moving HC

Supreme Court of India. (PTI photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Karnataka Congress leaders for approaching the High Court with regard to bypolls on Assembly seats, following disqualification of 17 MLAs, when the matter was pending before the top court.

"How can you file a petition when matter is pending here," a three-judge bench presided over by Justice N V Ramana asked senior advocate Kiran Shetty, appearing for State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

The court also pointed out that the order for deferring the bypolls from the scheduled date of October 21 was passed in presence of the counsel.

On Tuesday, the court asked the poll panel to file an application for staying the proceedings before the High Court.

"We will pass order, you file an application," the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, said.

The top court decided to take up the matter on Wednesday.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Election Commission, submitted that two petitions have been filed in the High Court. One was for cancellation of fresh notification on bypolls and another for seeking a direction to let the Code of Conduct continue in the state.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the present Speaker, submitted that till the Supreme Court was seized up of the matter, there should be stay on the proceedings before the High Court.

Senior advocate V Giri, representing some of the disqualified MLAs, said in all fairness, the High Court should not proceed in the matter.

Shetty said the questions raised in petitions before the High Court were significant as the government continued to make appointments on various board chairmen. He said the top court may transfer those petitions to itself.

Senior advocate Sajan Povayya, representing disqualified MLAs, pointed out that the apex court had last month passed the order in the presence of all the counsel.

Dwivedi said the High Court has put those matters for consideration on Friday.

On September 26, the Election Commission agreed before the Supreme Court to defer bypolls, scheduled for October 21.

This stand was then taken to facilitate the top court to take a final decision on the disqualified MLAs' plea against the Speaker's order stripping them of their membership and debarring them to be a member again in the term of current Assembly.
 

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