Karnataka: SC to decide fate of 17 rebel MLAs today

Karnataka: SC to decide fate of 17 rebel MLAs today

Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court is likely to decide on Wednesday fate of 17 rebel MLAs of Congress and JDS whose move has caused fall of the coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy in July and helming of BJP leader B S Yediyurappa as Chief Minister of Karnataka.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari would deliver its judgment on as many as nine separate petitions by the disqualified legislators.

Among 17 ex-legislators, one Congress MLA Shirmanth B Patil, who was admitted to a Mumbai hospital and did not participate in trust vote, was also disqualified by then-Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar.

Other rebel MLAs – 13 from Congress and three from JDS - claimed they were disqualified by the Speaker under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection) law, though they had resigned from membership of the House due to various reasons.

Some even contended they did not leave the party. Some said they were not given mandatory seven days time to respond to disqualification notice by the Speaker. R Shankar, who won as Independent and joined the government, claimed the Speaker could not have treated him as a Congress MLA.

The top court’s order would be crucial for the disqualified MLAs’ political future, since the filing of nominations for bypolls to 15 Assembly constituencies scheduled for December 5 has already begun and they are not eligible to contest by the Speaker’s order.

The current Speaker, for his part, has given an option before the court to reconsider the matter.

The Congress and the JDS had defended the adverse action taken against the rebel MLAs saying what had happened was a constitutional sin and the Speaker can’t be toothless when somebody wants to bring down the government.